• the Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences


Original Article

Exp Neurobiol 2012; 21(2): 61-67

Published online June 30, 2012

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

Differential Expressions of Synaptogenic Markers between Primary Cultured Cortical and Hippocampal Neurons

Yun-Gi Kim1 and Young-Il Lee2*

Departments of 1NanoBio Medical Science, 2Anatomy, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan 330-714, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
TEL: 82-41-550-3855, FAX: 82-41-556-6461


Primary dissociated neuronal cultures are widely used research tools to investigate of pathological mechanisms and to treat various central and peripheral nervous system problems including trauma and degenerative neuronal diseases. We introduced a protocol that utilizes hippocampal and cortical neurons from embryonic day 17 or 18 mice. We applied appropriate markers (GAP-43 and synaptophysin) to investigate whether neurite outgrowth and synaptogenesis can be distinguished at a particular period of time. GAP-43 was found along the neural processes in a typical granular pattern, and its expression increased proportionally as neurites lengthened during the early in vitro period. Unlike GAP-43, granular immunoreactive patterns of synaptophysin along the neurites were clearly found from day 2 in vitro with relatively high immunoreactive levels. Expression of synaptic markers from cortical neurons reached peak level earlier than that of hippocampal neurons, although neurite outgrowths of hippocampal neurons were faster than those of cortical neurons. The amount of peak synaptic markers expressed was also higher in cortical neurons than that in hippocampal neurons. These results strongly suggest the usefulness of primary cultured neurons from mice embryos for synaptic function and plasticity studies, because of their clear and typical patterns of morphology that establish synapses. Results from this study also suggest the proper amount of time in vitro according to neuronal types (cortical or hippocampal) when utilized in experiments related with synaptogenesis or synaptic activities.

Keywords: primary neuronal culture, mouse embryo, neurite outgrowth, synaptogenesis, gap-43, synaptophysin