In this study, we have documented by morphological analysis, immunocytochemistry, and electrophysiology, the development of a culture system that promotes the growth and long-term survival of dissociated adult rat spinal cord neurons. This system comprises a patternable, nonbiological, cell growth–promoting organosilane substrate coated on a glass surface and an empirically derived novel serum-free medium, supplemented with specific growth factors (acidic fibroblast growth factor, heparin sulfate, neurotrophin-3, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, glial-derived neurotrophic factor, cardiotrophin-1, and vitronectin). Neurons were characterized by immunoreactivity for neurofilament 150, neuron-specific enolase, Islet-1 antibodies, electrophysiology, and the cultures were maintained for 4–6 wk. This culture system could be a useful tool for the study of adult mammalian spinal neurons in a functional in vitro system.
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Vol. 41 • No. 10