Differentiating human NT2/D1 neurospheres as a versatile in vitro 3D model system for developmental neurotoxicity testing

Author(s): Hill EJ, Woehrling EK, Prince M, Coleman MD


Developmental neurotoxicity is a major issue in human health and may have lasting neurological implications. In this preliminary study we exposed differentiating Ntera2/clone D1 (NT2/D1) cell neurospheres to known human teratogens classed as non-embryotoxic (acrylamide), weakly embryotoxic (lithium, valproic acid) and strongly embryotoxic (hydroxyurea) as listed by European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) and examined endpoints of cell viability and neuronal protein marker expression specific to the central nervous system, to identify developmental neurotoxins. Following induction of neuronal differentiation, valproic acid had the most significant effect on neurogenesis, in terms of reduced viability and decreased neuronal markers. Lithium had least effect on viability and did not significantly alter the expression of neuronal markers. Hydroxyurea significantly reduced cell viability but did not affect neuronal protein marker expression. Acrylamide reduced neurosphere viability but did not affect neuronal protein marker expression. Overall, this NT2/D1-based neurosphere model of neurogenesis, may provide the basis for a model of developmental neurotoxicity in vitro.

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