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It has been well-accepted that spinal cord glial responses contribute significantly to the development of neuropathic pain. Tremendous information regarding glial activities at the cellular and molecular levels has been obtained through in vitro cell culture systems. The in vitro systems utilized, mainly include primary glia derived from neonatal brain cortical tissue and immortalized cell lines. However, these systems may not reflect the characteristics of spinal cord glial cells in vivo. In order to further investigate the roles of spinal cord glial cells in the development of peripheral nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain using a culture system that better reflects the in vivo condition, our laboratory has developed a method to establish primary spinal cord mixed glial cultures from adult mice. Briefly, spinal cords are collected from adult mice and processed through papain digestion followed by myelin removal with a density-gradient medium. Single cell suspensions are cultured in complete Dulbecco's modified Eagle media (cDMEM) supplemented with 2-mercaptoethanol (2-ME) at 35.9° C. These culture conditions were optimized specifically for the growth of mixed glial cells. Under these conditions, cells are ready to be used for experimentation between 12 - 14 d (cells are usually in log phase during this time) after the establishment of the culture (D 0) and can be kept in culture conditions up to D 21. This culture system can be used to investigate the responses of spinal cord glial cells upon stimulation with various substances and agents. Besides neuropathic pain, this system can be used to study glial responses in other diseases that involve pathological changes of spinal cord glial cells.


Originally published:
Malon, J. T., Cao, L. Preparation of Primary Mixed Glial Cultures from Adult Mouse Spinal Cord Tissue. J. Vis. Exp. (117), e54801, doi:10.3791/54801 (2016).

Copyright © 2016 Journal of Visualized Experiments.



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