Learn about primary neural and neuronal cell culture with these resources from Thermo Fisher Scientific.

What is the difference between neuronal and neural?

There are several types of cells in the nervous system including neurons, astrocytes, and microglia. The term "neural" refers to any type of nerve cell, including a mixture of brain cells, whereas "neuronal" is specifically related to neurons. The term "neural" is used in context of both primary cultures and neural stem cells.

What is primary neuronal culture?

Primary neuronal culture refers to in vitro maintenance of living neurons that have been extracted from animal (in vivo) nervous system tissue such as brain or spinal cord. Cells extracted from tissue are kept viable in the laboratory by supplying nutrients, vitamins, and the proper salt balance in liquid neuronal cell culture media and appropriate atmosphere (humidity, temperature, and CO2).

Can neurons be cultured?

Neurons can be kept alive in vitro by allowing them to attach to a cell culture vessel and providing a supportive environment including nutrient-rich cell culture media and supplements. Under the right in vitro conditions, primary cells harvested from embryonic or pre-natal nerve tissue may mature or further develop; for example, primary neurons can undergo neurite outgrowth. However, primary neurons in culture do not proliferate; that is, they do not increase in numbers via cell division.

See neural cell culture protocols

What are non-proliferating cells?

Non-proliferating cells are those that are not undergoing mitosis. In the context of tissue culture, this means that the cells in culture are not dividing and increasing their numbers in vitro. Many types of primary cells are non-proliferating (e.g., neuronal cultures) or can be expanded for only one or two doublings (e.g., primary astrocyte cultures).

Optimize viability and function of primary neural cell cultures by choosing the right cell culture system

Gibco neuronal and neural cell culture media and supplements contain optimized mixtures of nutrients, salts and vitamins to support primary neural cell and neuronal cultures. Our neural cell culture products have been developed to work together to create complete neuronal and primary astrocyte cell culture systems. Gibco products are the most widely used for neural cell culture because they provide the highest quality and consistency for both primary neuronal culture and primary astrocyte culture.

Cell types and disease models cited in publications using Gibco neuronal cell culture reagents

Primary neuronsBrainstem, cerebellar, cortical, dopaminergic, DRG, enteric, GABAergic, glutamatergic, hippocampal, motor, neural progenitor, pancreatic, parasympathetic, retinal, septal, striatal, substantia nigral, sympathetic ganglia
Glial cellsAstrocyte, microglia, oligodendrocytes, radial glia, satellite, Schwann cells
Disease modelsAlzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), brain tumor, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, glioma, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, spinal cord injury, stroke

Technical support and resources for neural cell culture

For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.