An Autaptic Culture System for Standardized Analyses of iPSC-Derived Human Neurons

Hong Jun Rhee, Ali H. Shaib, Kristina Rehbach, Choong Ku Lee, Peter Seif, Carolina Thomas, Erinn Gideons, Anja Guenther, Tamara Krutenko, Matthias Hebisch, Michael Peitz, Nils Brose, Oliver Brüstle, Jeong Seop Rhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


iPSC-derived human neurons are expected to revolutionize studies on brain diseases, but their functional heterogeneity still poses a problem. Key sources of heterogeneity are the different cell culture systems used. We show that an optimized autaptic culture system, with single neurons on astrocyte feeder islands, is well suited to culture, and we analyze human iPSC-derived neurons in a standardized, systematic, and reproducible manner. Using classically differentiated and transcription factor-induced human glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons, we demonstrate that key features of neuronal morphology and function, including dendrite structure, synapse number, membrane properties, synaptic transmission, and short-term plasticity, can be assessed with substantial throughput and reproducibility. We propose our optimized autaptic culture system as a tool to study functional features of human neurons, particularly in the context of disease phenotypes and experimental therapy. Rhee et al. establish an autaptic culture system of single iPSC-derived human neurons on astrocyte micro-islands, which allows for standardized assays of neuronal morphology, membrane properties, synapse function, and synaptic short-term plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2212-2228.e7
JournalCell Reports
Issue number7
StatePublished - 14 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • autaptic neuron culture system
  • axons
  • electrophysiology
  • human GABAergic neurons
  • human glutamatergic neurons
  • iPSC-derived human neurons
  • neurogenin-induced neurons
  • synaptic plasticity
  • synaptic vesicle dynamics
  • synaptogenesis of human neurons


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