Editor's Pick: New Automated Live-Cell Imaging Method

This article was a highlight for me because Shin and colleagues established a novel, automated live-cell imaging method to identify morphological changes in individual, dying human motor neurons (MNs). The process of cell death was initiated by trophic factor (TF) and supplement withdrawal; cell rescue was also assessed by TF addback or exposure to kenpaullone, an MN pro-survival agent. Changes in cell body size, neurite length, and node number were tracked in individual neurons over 2 weeks using a self-contained unit that includes an incubator, robotic arm, and a microscope. Shin and colleagues found that neurite length and node number were good, early indicators of neuronal health. TF addback was more effective than kenpaullone in overall terms of cell rescue. This study is an important advance in the field as it identified time points for therapeutic intervention to optimally test cell rescue agents for many neurological disorders. Also, it mitigates erroneous interpretations that may occur from quantifying cell death in heterogeneous neuronal populations and provides a standardized method for neuronal health determination.

Figure 1. Automated, time-lapse imaging shows changes in neurite length (yellow), node number (magenta), and cell body size (green) in a single MN over 2 weeks.

Read the full article:

Using Automated Live Cell Imaging to Reveal Early Changes during Human Motor Neuron Degeneration
Hye Young Shin, Kathleen L. Pfaff, Lance S. Davidow, Chicheng Sun, Takayuki Uozumi, Fumiki Yanagawa, Yoichi Yamazaki, Yasujiro Kiyota, and Lee L. Rubin

Category: Editor's Pick
Tags: Novel Tools and Methods, Neuroscience Research