Multi-electrode array

Multi-electrode arrays (MEA) are a powerful tool to investigate the neuronal firing fingerprint of your cells of choice over days, weeks or even months.  Neurons are cultured over a large set of electrodes and over time, a network is established with distinct characteristics. Extracellular field potentials are recorded, providing a non-invasive way of monitoring neuronal activity. Cells from different origins can be compared and / or effects of compounds on excitability, connectivity and synchrony investigated.

Applications of this technology include examining potential neurotoxicity of compounds, thereby helping to define safety margins. Alternatively, MEA recordings can be used to verify the desired actions of compounds specifically developed to be active in the central nervous system (CNS) .

At Metrion, we have two different MEA systems. The Axion Maestro is a high throughput device with a total of 768 electrodes that can be utilised in 12, 48 or 96 well formats. Alternatively, we have MED64 from Alpha MED, a lower throughput but highly flexible instrument with 64 electrodes that is better suited to certain applications. See our platform section for more information.

Current-clamp recording

To further investigate the effects of a compound, current-clamp recordings using manual patch-clamp can be employed. Current-clamp is an information rich technique which allows recordings from individual neurons to measure their firing behaviour in response to current input and / or compound application. Recordings can be used to verify work from other sources and then drill down to potential candidates for mechanism of action (MOA) of the compound in question. For instance, a state-dependent sodium channel blocker is likely to limit multiple action potential firing as shown. Further in-depth analysis of action potential shape can give further MOA information.

At Metrion, we have multiple manual patch-clamp rigs available with highly trained and experienced operatives. We aim to be able to provide a joined up service where compounds can be investigated using multiple techniques (such as linking MEA work with current-clamp) and to also provide safety assays to allow assessment of the potential therapeutic window. Subsequent to current-clamp work, Metrion can also follow-up with efficacy studies against specific ion channel targets.