B rain slice models offer unique advantages over other in vitro platforms in that they can replicate many aspects of the in vivo context. As slice-based assay systems provide good experimental access and allow precise control of extracellular environments, it facilitates research establishing clear correlations between molecular changes with neuropathological outcomes. In addition, it is possible to adopt these ex vivo models for the screening of therapeutic molecules or novel genes. Over the years, slice culture systems have been successfully established from a variety of brain regions including hippocampus, striatum, cortex, spinal cord and cerebellum.
Currently, in collaboration with Dr. Juncker, form McGill university, we are developing model of focal ischemia in brain slices.
Neuro-immunological interactions during diseases are manifested in the form of inflammatory infiltrates which form within the CNS. The use of the microfluidics probe will enable us to model diseases such as stroke and trauma in vitro. The focal nature of inflammatory infiltrates suggests that there are mechanisms in the neighboring tissue that can stop the spread of an infiltrate and limit inflammation-associated damage. Microfluidics probes will enable us to generate gradients of different cytokines and chemokines and thus induce localized inflammatory infiltrates in tissue slice cultures. We will be able to define key players in inflammation-driven neurodegenerative disorders.