Chapter 3: High-throughput Screening of Toxic Chemicals on Neural Stem Cells
Published:09 Aug 2016
Exposure to environmental toxicants such as heavy metals, pesticides, and nanoparticles poses a severe threat to both the developing and the adult human brain, causing various neurodegenerative disorders. Detection and quantification of neurotoxicity induced by such toxicants represent a major challenge due to the complexity of neuronal pathways involved and a lack of understanding of mechanistic actions of toxicants in vivo. While the role of neural stem cells (NSCs) in this process is becoming increasingly evident, outcomes from conventional in vitro assays explored thus far are curtailed by the relative high-cost and low throughput (number of bioassays per time), physiologically-irrelevant 2D cell cultures, and unavailability of the requisite cell populations. This chapter aims to highlight the various mechanisms involved in neurotoxicity and neuronal differentiation of NSCs, and summarizes various in vitro assays currently being used for the detection of neurotoxicity along with their limitations.