Cell and tissue culture of the central nervous system: Recent developments and current applications

Ole Didrik Laerum*, Sverre Steinsvåg, Rolf Bjerkvig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract– A survey of methods for cell and tissue culture of the central nervous system (CNS) is given. This includes a brief historical outline and description of methods in current use. Recent methodological improvements are emphasized, and it is shown how these are applied in modern neurobiological research. Both monolayer cell cultures and three‐dimensional organ culture systems are widely used, each having advantages and limitations. In recent years, there has been considerable improvement of culture for prolonged periods in chemically defined media. Brain tissue from a wide spectrum of species have been used, including different types of human brain cells which can be propagated for several months. At present, these culture systems are employed for dynamic studies of the developing, the adult and ageing brain. It is possible to select neurons and the different classes of glial cells for culture purposes. Cell culture of the CNS has given new insights into the biology of brain tumours. Culture systems for experimental tumour therapy in vitro are also available. Recently, it has been shown that organ cultures of brain tissue can be used as targets for invasive glioma cells, enabling a direct study of the interactions between tumour cells and normal tissue to take place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-549
Number of pages21
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell and tissue culture
  • central nervous system
  • gliomas


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