A kainic acid-induced seizure model in human pluripotent stem cell-derived cortical neurons for studying the role of IL-6 in the functional activity

Authors: Mzezewa R, Lotila J, Kiiski H, Vinogradov A, Kapucu FE, Peltola J, Hagman S, and Narkilahti S.

Stem Cell Research, 2022.

Researchers use Axion’s Maestro platform to investigate seizure activity in vitro.

The inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) plays an important role in epilepsy, but the relationship between IL-6 and neuronal networks is not fully understood. In this study, scientists used human pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cortical neurons exposed to seizure-inducing kainic acid on Axion’s noninvasive Maestro multielectrode array (MEA) platform to investigate the effects of IL-6 and hyper-IL-6 (H-IL-6) on functionally mature neuronal networks in vitro.

Findings from MEA and other testing methods demonstrated that “mature cortical neuronal networks can respond to IL-6 and H-IL-6 by modulating their expression of IL-6 receptors, thus implying an ability to respond through both classical and trans-signaling pathways,” but because IL-6 alone did not increase seizure activity, the scientists suggest it does not affect the induction or modulation of new seizures. Overall, the authors conclude that this hiPSC model is a suitable preclinical tool for studying the pathogenesis of epilepsy.