Induced neurotransmitter release from primary cultures of rat brain neurons

Neomi Zurgil, Nava Zisapel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neural cells from fetal rat brain were grown in tissue culture in the absence of serum and maintained for 4-5 weeks without medium renewal. Over 80% of the embryonic cells in the culture had a neuronal appearance and formed intercellular synaptic connections. When mature, a definite population of the neuronal cells accumulated 3H-dopamine in a sodium-dependent, benztropine inhibited process. The mature cells were also able to release 3H-dopamine in a potassium evoked, calcium-dependent process, with half maximal dopamine release achieved at a Ca2+ concentration of 120μM. In the maturing cells the capacity for potassium evoked, calcium-dependent dopamine release increased from an undetectable level in the first three days to a plateau level after 10-11 days in vitro. The fully expressed release capacity (20-30% of the neurotransmitter retained in the cells) was maintained thereafter. These results demonstrate that primary brain neurons develop a functional neurosecretion apparatus in a chemically defined medium in the absence of animal serum. This extends the utility of primary cultures of brain neurons for developmental structural and biochemical studies of neurotransmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2265-2271
Number of pages7
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number22
StatePublished - 30 Nov 1981


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