Novel adult cortical neuron processing and screening method illustrates sex- and age-dependent effects of pharmaceutical compounds. Academic Article uri icon


  • Neurodegenerative diseases and neurotraumatic injuries are typically age-associated disorders that can reduce neuron survival, neurite outgrowth, and synaptic plasticity leading to loss of cognitive capacity, executive function, and motor control. In pursuit of reducing the loss of said neurological functions, novel compounds are sought that promote neuron viability, neuritogenesis, and/or synaptic plasticity. Current high content in vitro screenings typically use cells that are iPSC-derived, embryonic, or originate from post-natal tissues; however, most patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases and neurotrauma are of middle-age and older. The chasm in maturity between the neurons used in drug screens and those in a target population is a barrier for translational success of in vitro results. It has been historically challenging to culture adult neurons let alone conduct screenings; therefore, age-appropriate drug screenings have previously not been plausible. We have modified Miltenyi's protocol to increase neuronal yield, neuron purity, and neural viability at a reduced cost to expand our capacity to screen compounds directly in primary adult neurons. To our knowledge, we developed the first morphology-based screening system using adult cortical neurons and the first to incorporate age and sex as biological variables in a screen using adult cortical neurons. By using primary adult cortical neurons from mice that were 4 to 48weeks old for screening pharmaceutical agents, we have demonstrated age- and sex-dependent effects on neuritogenesis and neuron survival in vitro. Utilizing age- and sex-appropriate in vitro models to find novel compounds increasing neuron survival and neurite outgrowth, made possible by our modified adult neuron processing method, will greatly increase the relevance of in vitro screening for finding neuroprotective compounds.

published proceedings

  • Sci Rep

altmetric score

  • 9.55

author list (cited authors)

  • Sefiani, A., Rusyn, I., & Geoffroy, C. G.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Sefiani, Arthur||Rusyn, Ivan||Geoffroy, C├ędric G

publication date

  • July 2022