UNIT 12.10 Coculturing Neurons and Glial Cells

  1. Barbara Viviani

Published Online: 1 MAY 2003

DOI: 10.1002/0471140856.tx1210s15

Current Protocols in Toxicology

Current Protocols in Toxicology

How to Cite

Viviani, B. 2003. Coculturing Neurons and Glial Cells. Current Protocols in Toxicology. 15:12.10:12.10.1–12.10.17.

Author Information

  1. University of Milan Via Balzaretti, Milan, Italy

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2003
  2. Published Print: FEB 2003


The close relationship between neurons, glia, astroglia, and astrocytes plays a relevant role in modulating a neurotoxic effect and propagating the consequent degenerative event in the brain. After exposure to a neurotoxicant, glial cells are often activated to release substances responsible for the propagation of the damage. the production of such mediators is the result of both neural death and communication between microglia and astrocytes. Because they are simple and highly controlled, cocultures of different cells of the nervous system are a valuable tool in the investigations of these complex relationships. This unit describes protocols to set up neuron-glia and microglia-astrocyte sandwich cocultures, in which the selected cell populations grow on two different surfaces. This system has the advantage that the two cell populations can be separated at any point in the exposure without disrupting the cells integrity and organization