Developing assays for motor neuron disease drug discovery is difficult. Do animal models fully recapitulate human disease? Is using primary tissue from human patients possible at scale? Do cell expression models include enough of the biology for data from them to be meaningful?
Human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived motor neurons could be a good solution to these problems. Here are seven reasons why Axol’s iPSC-derived motor neurons and the Maturation Accelerator supplement are a great option for motor neuron disease assay development.
1. Axol iPSC-derived motor neurons are functionally mature and assay ready in under 3 weeks, compared to 7 weeks
Axol’s Motor Neuron Maturation Accelerator media supplement (ax0179) is specially designed to recreate the developmental milieu of motor neurons, driving rapid maturation. Culturing our iPSC-derived motor neuron progenitor cells in this supplemented media provides functionally mature neurons in 20 days, compared to 8 weeks with basal media.
Their morphological characteristics of clustered cell bodies with far reaching neurite processes is a classic feature of mature motor neurons.
Figure 1. Morphologically mature iPSC-derived motor neurons in 14 days, post-thaw.
Furthermore, Axol human iPSC-derived motor neurons express HB9 and MAP2 (Figure 2), as well as LIM3 and ChAT2.
Figure 2. Motor neurons cultured with Maturation Accelerator express markers of mature motor neurons at 14 days in vitro.
See more data from Axol’s iPSC-derived motor neurons
Review immunocytochemical and electrophysiological data obtained from our motor neurons when culturing them with the Axol motor neuron Maturation Accelerator media supplement.
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2. Axol provides fully validated protocols for culturing iPSC-derived motor neurons
We make it as easy as possible for you to follow our protocols and generate functionally mature motor neurons in under three weeks, post-thaw. Our protocols detail all the necessary steps and associated products you need to successfully culture motor neurons for your assays.
3. Axol iPSC-derived motor neurons are made in a Quality Manufacturing environment
All Axol cell products, reagents and media are manufactured at our ISO 9001-certified manufacturing site at the Roslin Innovation Centre, Edinburgh, UK.
Our quality control scientists, customer service and logistics personnel work hard to ensure all our products adhere to our stringent quality control standards and are shipped to our customers as fast as possible.
Quality control measures for Axol’s iPSC-derived motor neurons include a minimum of 7 quality checks, such as sterility and cell count, but also immune cytochemistry to confirm relevant motor neuron markers are expressed.
To order Axol’s iPSC-derived motor neurons and the Maturation Accelerator supplement click here.
4. Axol are licensed to provide differentiated cells for your assays
When performing experimental work on any iPSC or iPSC-derived cells, you should check that the material you are using has all the relevant permissions required. Otherwise, you could come across obstacles when you commercialize any therapies developed while using your cells.
Importantly for drug safety and target discovery scientists working with iPSC-derived motor neurons in the EU, Axol has a license agreement with Evotec which means we can differentiate our iPSCs into cells of interest for scientists needing a source robust, quality manufactured iPSC-derived cells, such as motor neurons.
At Axol, we also offer a custom differentiation service, where we can differentiate your stem cells into your cell type of interest. Find out more about our custom differentiation service by clicking the button below.
5. Axol iPSC-derived motor neurons are good models of disease
Whether in monoculture or in co-culture with other cells, the insights gained from using iPSC-derived motor neurons from healthy or disease lines can transform assays.
At Axol we have over 60 lines from healthy and diseased patients that we can use to make iPSC-derived motor neurons from, including lines from ALS patients. We also have a host of isogenic control lines that can serve as controls for your experiments. All genetic information and patient profiles are available. View our disease lines here.
We can make motor neurons for you from all our genetic lines in 8-12 weeks, providing you order a minimum of 10 vials.
In addition, if you have an iPSC line you would like differentiated into iPSC-derived motor neurons, or other cells, we can help.
View our 60+ disease lines
6. Axol iPSC-derived motor neurons are at the forefront of iPSC-technology
Axol’s expert scientists are constantly innovating in the iPSC-technology space. We recently developed the motor neuron Maturation Accelerator supplement which reduces functional maturation time of iPSC-derived motor neurons from 7-8 weeks, down to under 3 weeks.
We are confident we can reduce this even further in the future as we make strides in our R&D with these cells. Our scientists know there is a need to provide robust cells for assay development and screening purposes, as they come from these backgrounds and are working to overcome the challenges faced by R&D scientists across the world.
Read a scientist spotlight interview with Dr Amaia Paredes-Redondo, Research Scientist at Axol Bio.
7. iPSC-derived motor neurons can be co-cultured with muscle cells in 2D and 3D
Axol scientists and external partners have used Axol iPSC-derived motor neurons in co-culture with skeletal muscle cells to recapitulate the human neuromuscular junction in vitro. As part of their EU sponsored work on the Platforma Project, Axol scientists used the motor neuron Maturation Accelerator media supplement to mature motor neurons in under 3 weeks and recreate functional neuromuscular junctions in both 2D devices and 3D systems.
Other scientific partners have also utilized Axol iPSC-derived motor neurons in their research. Rowan Rimington et al. reconstructed the human neuromuscular junction in 3D with a spheroid approach.