Neuronal culture supplements are mixtures of nutrients and vitamins that, when added to a basal medium, create a complete neural cell culture system. Gibco neuronal culture supplements provide high quality and consistency to support your neural cell culture and experiments.

  • B-27 Supplement—designed and described by Gregory Brewer [1], this serum-free neuronal culture supplement has a track record of over 25 years of enabling primary neuronal cell culture. Thermo Fisher Scientific offers several variations of B-27 supplement such as insulin-free or without Vitamin A.
  • N-2 Supplement—originally developed by Jane Bottenstein [2] for culturing neuroblastoma cell lines, this neural cell supplement can be used as a serum substitute for embryonic neurons and neural stem cell cultures.
  • G-5 Supplement—this neural cell culture supplement contains insulin and EGF [3] and supports growth of glial cells, specifically astrocytes, from mixed primary neural cell cultures. Learn about G-5 Supplement formulation
  • B-27 Plus Supplement—a serum-free neuronal culture supplement based on the original B-27 that maximizes the survival rate of cultured neurons when used with Neurobasal Plus Medium.
  • CultureOne Supplement—designed to improve differentiation of neurons from neural stem cells, this neuronal culture supplement is also useful for controlling astrocyte proliferation in primary neural cell cultures. Learn about CultureOne supplement and neuronal differentiation

What is the difference between N-2 and B-27 neuronal culture supplements?

N-2 supplement was originally designed and demonstrated to support neuroblastoma (nerve cell cancer) cell lines in serum-free culture whereas B-27 supplement was developed specifically for culture of primary embryonic neurons.

The N-2 supplement formulation includes insulin, transferrin, progesterone, putrescine, and selenium. The B-27 supplement formulation includes many of the same components as N-2 supplement, but also includes the thyroid hormone T3, fatty acids, and antioxidants, such as vitamin E and glutathione.

Selection guide for primary neural and neuronal culture supplements

Thermo Fisher Scientific recommends using the specified Gibco cell culture supplements for the following applications:

Cell typeSpecific cell type/applicationSupplement
Astrocytes and gliaCulture of primary astrocytesG-5 Supplement
Culture of glial cell lines of astrocytic phenotypeG-5 Supplement
NeuronsGrowth of pre-natal/fetal primary neuronsB-27 Plus Supplement
Maintenance/maturation of post-natal and adult brain neuronsB-27 Plus Supplement
Selection of neurons from mixed neural progenitor populations; control of glial cell outgrowthCultureOne Supplement
Maintenance/maturation of stem cell-derived neuronsB-27 Plus Supplement and CultureOne Supplement
Differentiation and maturation of stem cell-derived neuronsB-27 Supplement
Studies of oxidative stress/damage, apoptosis, or where free radical damage to neurons occursB-27 Supplement without AO (antioxidants)
Electrophysiology studiesB-27 Plus Supplement
Neural cellsGrowth and expansion of retinal ganglion cellsB-27 Supplement, Custom
Studies of insulin secretion or insulin receptorsB-27 Supplement without insulin
Proliferation of neural stem cellsB-27 Supplement without vitamin A
Studies where xenobiotic-free media components are requiredB-27 Supplement, XenoFree
Neuroblastoma and other tumor cells of neuronal phenotypeN-2 Supplement


  1. Brewer G.J., Torricelli J.R., Evege E.K., Price P.J. (1993) Optimized survival of hippocampal neurons in B27-supplemented Neurobasal, a new serum-free medium combination. J Neurosci Res. 35(5):567-76. doi: 10.1002/jnr.490350513. PMID: 8377226.
  2. Bottenstein J.E. (1985) Growth and Differentiation of Neural Cells in Defined Media. Current Topics in Neurobiology. Springer, Boston, MA. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4613-2473-7_1.
  3. Michler-Stuke A., Wolff J.R., Bottenstein J.E. Factors influencing astrocyte growth and development in defined media. Int J Dev Neurosci. 1984;2(6):575-84. doi: 10.1016/0736-5748(84)90035-2. PMID: 24874398.

Support and resources for neural cell culture supplements

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