Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Stem Cells. Jul 26, 2015; 7(6): 899-921
Published online Jul 26, 2015. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v7.i6.899
Importance of being Nernst: Synaptic activity and functional relevance in stem cell-derived neurons
Aaron B Bradford, Patrick M McNutt
Aaron B Bradford, Patrick M McNutt, Cell/Molecular Biology Branch, US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, Aberdeen Proving Grounds-EA, MD 21010, United States
Author contributions: Bradford AB and McNutt PM collected relevant figure materials, wrote and edited the paper.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Patrick M McNutt, PhD, Cell/Molecular Biology Branch, US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, 3100 Ricketts Point Road, Aberdeen Proving Grounds-EA, MD 21010, United States.
Telephone: +1-410-4368044
Received: December 19, 2014
Peer-review started: December 21, 2014
First decision: February 7, 2015
Revised: February 28, 2015
Accepted: May 8, 2015
Article in press: May 11, 2015
Published online: July 26, 2015
Core Tip

Core tip: During stem cell neuronal differentiation, functional synaptogenesis and the emergence of coordinated, networked activity are critical behaviors in confirming that cells have developed into a relevant neuronal population. As the number of stem cell-derived neuron (SCN) models continues to proliferate, the use of specific functional readouts to evaluate SCN maturity will become increasingly important compared to morphological or proteomic characterization of neuronal maturation. The review provides diverse options for reliably assaying the development of synaptic neurotransmission in derived neurons and describes the strengths, weaknesses and potential applications of several stem cell-based neuron models.