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The Use of Microchips Is Becoming Normal in MS Studies

November 3, 2015

An article in the most recently published Trends in Biotechnology indicates that studies of CNS diseases would go smoother using compact, accessible chip technology than in current methods.

The study of multiple sclerosis may advance via the use of a microchip system since these chips are complete with neurons, supporting cells (glia) and connected neuronal circuitry. Unlike a traditional “cell culture,” scientists can arrange cells on chips in an organized fashion, instead of simply growing them in a dish.

The researchers noted that “(Chip) systems have been rapidly progressing over the past decade, enabling the development of unique micro platforms for in vitro human central nervous system (CNS) and related disease models,”

The article’s lead author YoonYoung Yi says that methods for studying the nervous system using microchips have already been established: “Most fundamental techniques include manipulation of axons, synapses, and neuronal networks, and different culture conditions are possible, such as compartmental, co-culturing, and 3D. Various CNS disease models, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), multiple sclerosis (MS), epilepsy, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis, migraine, diffuse axonal injury, and neuronal migration disorders, have been successfully established on microplatforms.”

The chips might be used to study fundamental processes that are disrupted in neurological diseases like MS. Previously, microchips have been used specifically to study the behavior of microglia, cells that may play a role in MS inflammation.