HOW IT WORKS
Learn how MEA assays work and the innovation behind Axion's products.
Getting started with Maestro couldn't be easier. Culture your neurons in an Axion multiwell MEA plate [A]. Load this MEA plate into the Maestro MEA system and allow the environmental chamber to automatically equilibrate [B]. Analyze the neural activity of the neurons in the MEA plate label-free and in real-time with AxIS Navigator software [C].
WHAT IS MEA?
Axion’s microelectrode array (MEA) plates have a grid of tightly spaced electrodes embedded in the culture surface of each well [A]. Electrically active cells, such as neurons, can be cultured over the electrodes [B]. Over time, as the cultures become established, neurons can form cohesive networks and present an electrophysiological profile. The resulting electrical activity, spontaneous or induced firing of neurons, is captured from each electrode on a microsecond timescale providing both temporally and spatially precise data [C].
NEURAL NETWORK RECORDINGS
Electrical activity is captured from neurons (orange) cultured over electrodes (gray circle). The Maestro MEA system detects key parameters of neural network function, including activity, oscillation, and synchrony.
- Activity – are the neurons functional? Action potentials are the defining feature of neuron function. High values indicate the neurons are firing action potentials frequently. Low values indicate the neurons may have impaired electrophysiological function.
- Synchrony – are the synapses functional? Synapses are functional connections between neurons, such that an action potential from one neuron affects the likelihood of an action potential from another neuron. Synchrony reflects the strength of synaptic connections, and thus how likely neurons are to generate action potentials simultaneously on millisecond time scales. High values (toward 1) indicate highly synchronous activity, and low values (toward 0) indicate the firing of individual neurons has little influence on the activity in other neurons.
- Oscillation – is the network functional? Neural oscillations, defined by alternating periods of high and low activity, are a hallmark of functional networks with excitatory and inhibitory neurons. Oscillation is a measure of how the spikes from all of the neurons in a well are organized in time. High values indicate that the network exhibits bursts of action potentials interspersed with periods of relative quiescence. Low values indicate action potentials are not coordinated across neurons in the network.
Experts in the field explain how they are using Axion's technology to better understand neural diseases.
Fragile X syndrome is the most prevalent genetic form of intellectual disability. There is no cure or treatment due in part to the complexity in the Fragile X syndrome neuronal circuitry. In this webinar, Dr. John Graef (Fulcrum Therapeutics), demonstrates how using CRISPR gene-editing and patient-derived cells Fulcrum can create the Fragile X syndrome phenotype in a dish. Moreover, this approach has enabled an estimate of the level of FMRP protein expression required to correct the observed Fragile X syndrome phenotype.
“Man on Fire” syndrome, also known as Inherited Erythromelalgia (IEM), is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by burning pain in the hands and feet. The chronic pain of most patients with IEM cannot be relieved by common pain killers making this disease a major unmet medical need. In this webinar, Dr. Yang Yang (Purdue University) discusses advances in the treatment of IEM using a pharmacogenomic approach. The drug responsiveness of different genetic mutations associated with IEM were probed in an in vitro Maestro MEA assay, with the results helping to predict the effective treatment of these IEM patients in the clinic.
Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder, is a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopmental disorders. Individuals diagnosed with autism show challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Autism is estimated to affect about 1% of people, or 62.2 million globally. The genetics of autism are complex meaning better methods are required to help understand the genetic risk factors that underlie autism. In this webinar, Dr. Michael Nestor (The Hussman Institute for Autism) discusses how studying the spontaneous firing activity of patient-derived iPSC neurons in an MEA assay is helping to build a model of autism.
Neuromuscular disorders include ALS, myasthenia gravis, and the muscular dystrophies such as Duchenne's. Collectively these disorders exceed an incidence of 1 in 3,000. Although there is a strong genetic understanding of many of these disorders, the poor translatability of animal models to humans has hindered the development of treatments for these diseases. Consequently, there is a need for a model that more faithfully recapitulates the physiology of the human neuromuscular junction. In this webinar, Elliot Swartz (UCLA) discusses how he is building a light controlled hiPSC model of a neuromuscular junction to help better understand neuromuscular disorders.