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2013 - Minimized cell usage for stem cell-derived and primary cells on an automated patch clamp system

icon pl  Patchliner publication in Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods (2013)

Becker N., Stoelzle S., Göpel S., Guinot D., Mumm P., Haarmann C., Malan D., Bohlen H., Kossolov E., Kettenhofen R., George M., Fertig N., Brüggemann A.


J Pharmacol Toxicol Methods (2013) 68(1):82-87


Chip-based automated patch clamp systems are widely used in drug development and safety pharmacology, allowing for high quality, high throughput screening at standardized experimental conditions. The merits of automation generally come at the cost of large amounts of cells needed, since cells are not targeted individually, but randomly positioned onto the chip aperture from cells in suspension. While cell usage is of little concern when using standard cell lines such as CHO or HEK cells, it becomes a crucial constraint with cells of limited availability, such as primary or otherwise rare and expensive cells, like induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cell-derived cardiomyocytes or neurons.

We established application protocols for CHO cells, IPS cell-derived neurons (iCell® Neurons, Cellular Dynamics International), cardiomyocytes (Cor.4U®, Axiogenesis) and pancreatic islet cells, minimizing cell usage for automated patch clamp recordings on Nanion's Patchliner. Use of 5 μl cell suspension per well for densities between 55,000 cells/ml and 400,000 cells/ml depending on cell type resulted in good cell capture.

We present a new cell application procedure optimized for the Patchliner achieving > 80% success rates for using as little as 300 to 2000 cells per well depending on cell type. We demonstrate that this protocol works for standard cell lines, as well as for stem cell-derived neurons and cardiomyocytes, and for primary pancreatic islet cells. We present recordings for these cell types, demonstrating that high data quality is not compromised by altered cell application.

Our new cell application procedure achieves high success rates with unprecedentedly low cell numbers. Compared to other standard automated patch clamp systems we reduced the average amount of cells needed by more than 150 times. Reduced cell usage crucially improves cost efficiency for expensive cells and opens up automated patch clamp for primary cells of limited availability.

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