Develop a 3D neurological disease model of human cortical glutamatergic neurons using micropillar-based scaffolds

Cheng Chen, Xin Dong, Kai-Heng Fang, Fang Yuan, Yao Hu, Min Xu, Yu Huang, Xixiang Zhang, Danjun Fang, Yan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Establishing an effective three-dimensional (3D) in vitro culture system to better model human neurological diseases is desirable, since the human brain is a 3D structure. Here, we demonstrated the development of a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) pillar-based 3D scaffold that mimicked the 3D microenvironment of the brain. We utilized this scaffold for the growth of human cortical glutamatergic neurons that were differentiated from human pluripotent stem cells. In comparison with the 2D culture, we demonstrated that the developed 3D culture promoted the maturation of human cortical glutamatergic neurons by showing significantly more MAP2 and less Ki67 expression. Based on this 3D culture system, we further developed an in vitro disease-like model of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which showed a robust increase of glutamate-release from the neurons, in response to mechanical impacts, recapitulating the critical pathology of TBI. The increased glutamate-release from our 3D culture model was attenuated by the treatment of neural protective drugs, memantine or nimodipine. The established 3D in vitro human neural culture system and TBI-like model may be used to facilitate mechanistic studies and drug screening for neurotrauma or other neurological diseases.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-564
Number of pages8
JournalActa Pharmaceutica Sinica B
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 23 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This study was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA16010306), the National Natural Science Foundation of China Grants (91849117 and 81471301), Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC1306703), The National Jiangsu Outstanding Young Investigator Program (BK20160044, China), Jiangsu Province׳s Innovation Person (China), the Natural Science Foundation of the Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China Project (Grant No. 17KJB180010).


Dive into the research topics of 'Develop a 3D neurological disease model of human cortical glutamatergic neurons using micropillar-based scaffolds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this