Three-dimensional Co-culture Model for Live Imaging of Pancreatic Islets, Immune Cells, and Neurons in Agarose Gel.

Muntjewerff EM, Josyula VS, Christoffersson G

Bio Protoc 13 (20) e4852 [2023-10-20; online 2023-10-20]

During the onset of autoimmune diabetes, nerve-immune cell interactions seem to play an important role; however, there are currently no models to follow and interfere with these interactions over time in vivo or in vitro. Two-dimensional in vitro models provide insufficient information and microfluidics or organs on a chip are usually challenging to work with. We present here what we believe to be the first simple model that provides the opportunity to co-culture pancreatic islets with sympathetic nerves and immune cells. This model is based on our stamping device that can be 3D printed (STL file provided). Due to the imprint in the agarose gel, sympathetic neurons, pancreatic islets, and macrophages can be seeded in specific locations at a level that allows for confocal live-cell imaging. In this protocol, we provide the instructions to construct and perform live cell imaging experiments in our co-culture model, including: 1) design for the stamping device to make the imprint in the gel, 2) isolation of sympathetic neurons, pancreatic islets, and macrophages, 3) co-culture conditions, 4) how this can be used for live cell imaging, and 5) possibilities for wider use of the model. In summary, we developed an easy-to-use co-culture model that allows manipulation and imaging of interactions between sympathetic nerves, pancreatic islets, and macrophages. This new co-culture model is useful to study nerve-immune cell-islet interactions and will help to identify the functional relevance of neuro-immune interactions in the pancreas. Key features • A novel device that allows for 3D co-culture of sympathetic neurons, pancreatic islets, and immune cells • The device allows the capture of live interactions between mouse sympathetic neurons, pancreatic islets, and immune cells in a controlled environment after six days of co-culturing. • This protocol uses cultured sympathetic neurons isolated from the superior cervical ganglia using a previously established method (Jackson and Tourtellotte, 2014) in a 3D co-culture. • This method requires 3D printing of our own designed gel-stamping device (STL print file provided on SciLifeLab FigShare DOI: 10.17044/scilifelab.24073062).

Gustaf Christoffersson

SciLifeLab Fellow

PubMed 37900103

DOI 10.21769/BioProtoc.4852

Crossref 10.21769/BioProtoc.4852

pmc: PMC10603256
pii: e4852

Publications 9.5.0