Autism Spectrum Disorder Application
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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder influenced by genetic, environmental, and epigenetic factors. Several key mechanisms have been implicated in the development of ASD including synaptic dysfunction, immune system dysregulation, and alterations in early brain development processes such as neuronal migration and neurogenesis.

Designed to study network-level neural activity noninvasively and at high temporal resolution in 2D and 3D cell models, Axion’s hands-free Maestro microelectrode array (MEA) systems offer an ideal platform to examine the pathogenesis and progression of ASD in vitro.

Understanding mechanisms of autism with in vitro models

New in vitro models are developed each day, and the right tools to measure neural function can provide new insights into the mechanisms of autism spectrum disorders.

Autism disease models often demonstrate one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Gliosis and neuroinflammation
  • Synaptic dysfunction
  • Anti-brain antibodies
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction​

See how researchers use our tools to identify the underlying causes of autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Studying neural function of in vitro models of autism spectrum disorder

Webinar: Using neurophysiology to build a human iPSC model of autism

Purpose: To create an in vitro disease model of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by characterizing neuronal activity from iPSC-derived patient models. It is proposed that there are points of convergence in the neurophysiological readouts of individuals with autism with different genetic backgrounds and identifying a functional phenotype could aid research into the disorder.


Spontaneous firing rate of neurons from control subjects and people with autism
Neuronal activity of control subjects and people with autism


Human stem cell-derived cortical neurons from individuals with autism were analyzed on the Maestro MEA platform to study the activity of neuronal networks and their disruption in ASD.

Result: Maestro MEA data indicated that iPSC-derived cortical neurons from individuals with autism showed a significant decrease in spontaneous activity compared to control lines. [Nestor, 2018]

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Publication Highlights: Autism spectrum disorder


Publication highlights: Autism

Publication Highlights: Autism spectrum disorder

Improved disease models and access to patient induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are enabling scientists to better characterize ASD phenotypes in vitro. Review the latest autism spectrum disorder research using Axion’s platforms.

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Click here to download the Axion BioSystems Neural Activity Brochure




What are the advantages of MEA to study in vitro autism disease models?

  • The Maestro MEA platform offers a controlled environment for studying detailed neural network activity in vitro.
  • High-throughput multi-well plates make it ideal for screening patient-specific lines and therapeutics.
  • Noninvasive monitoring allows for the study of long-term effects and disease progression.
  • It is easy to use, requiring only basic cell culturing techniques to measure neural electrophysiology.

What kind of neural cultures can be measured on the Maestro MEA?

The main requirement is that you have electrically active cells. Primary or stem cell-derived neurons can be used. They may be cocultured with our without glial cells. Neurons can be measured from 2D cultures, organoids or other 3D cultures, and slices.

What kind of metrics can you get from neural activity?

MEA measures from multiple areas of a culture over time, allowing you to go beyond just the firing of individual neurons and evaluate dynamic network activity and the development of functional phenotypes. Learn more about what you can do with our Neural Module.