Adult rat hippocampal slices as in vitro models for neurodegeneration: Studies on cell viability and apoptotic processes

Adam Legradi, Szilvia Varszegi, Csaba Szigeti, Karoly Gulya

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Adult hippocampal slice cultures were used in the modeling of apoptotic aspects of neurodegeneration. Slice viability was determined by the use of trypan blue (TB) staining, and apoptosis was assessed by caspase-3 immunohistochemistry. A large number of pyramidal cells showed signs of degeneration 30 min after sectioning (58.4% of the total number of pyramidal cells), as they exhibited TB uptake, and about 71.6% of these neurons became stained by the third day in culture, when patches in the stratum oriens also demonstrated distinct TB staining. By the sixth day of culturing, almost all cells in the pyramidal cell layer became TB positive (88.4%). The caspase-3 immunoreactivity displayed a different pattern, as the most intense immunoreactivity, detected mainly in the pyramidal cells, peaked 6. h after culturing, and then decreased steadily. The present data show that in adult hippocampal slices a large number of pyramidal cells initiate apoptotic processes as a result of irreparable damage sustained during slice preparation and culture maintenance, and support the notion that apoptosis is an integral part of the neurodegenerative processes not only in vivo but also in vitro. Elucidation of mechanisms for the apoptotic processes in adult hippocampal slice cultures could lead to the development of new therapeutic strategies; moreover, the utilization of adult hippocampal slice cultures could be a viable alternative technique to in vivo experiments in studying the mechanisms responsible for neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2011



  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase-3
  • Hippocampus
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Slice culture
  • Trypan blue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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