Real-Time Monitoring of Levetiracetam Effect on the Electrophysiology of an Heterogenous Human iPSC-Derived Neuronal Cell Culture Using Microelectrode Array Technology

Di Credico A, Gaggi G, Izzicupo P, Ferri L, Bonanni L, Iannetti G, Di Baldassarre A, and Ghinassi B.

Biosensors, 2021.

Researchers demonstrate MEA platform is “gold standard” for modeling complex neural network behavior and reveal underlying mechanisms of levetiracetam efficacy

Levetiracetam (LEV) is a commonly prescribed antiseizure medication known to have neuroprotective benefits in certain settings, but the drug’s effects on neural activity are not fully understood. In this study, researchers demonstrated that advanced multielectrode array (MEA) technology is an ideal platform for modeling complex electrical network behavior in the brain and explored a mixed human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived neuronal cell population to reveal underlying mechanisms of how LEV works to prevent seizures. Recent research suggests that neural co-cultures containing different central nervous system cells (glutamatergic, GABAergic, and dopaminergic neurons, and astrocytes) promote the formation of physiologically relevant neural networks in vitro.

To record and analyze activity in the hiPSC-derived neuronal cells during and after treatment with LEV, scientists used Axion’s Maestro Edge MEA platform. The results, which correspond to observations in vivo, showed that the drug significantly affected multiple variables including spiking, single-electrode bursting, and network bursting activity. Additionally, the scientists reported a return to baseline activity in the cells after 24 hours without LEV. In summary, the authors demonstrate that MEA technology is highly sensitive for detecting drug-induced electrophysiological changes and conclude that MEA technology on mixed hiPSC-derived neuronal cell populations represents the “gold standard” for evaluating complex electrophysiological activity.