Optogenetically controlled human functional motor endplate for testing botulinum neurotoxins

The lack of physiologically relevant and predictive cell-based assays is one of the major obstacles for testing and developing botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) therapeutics. Human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs)-derivatives now offer the opportunity to improve the relevance of cellular models and thus the translational value of preclinical data.

The authors investigated the potential of hiPSC-derived motor neurons (hMNs) optical stimulation combined with calcium imaging in cocultured muscle cells activity to investigate BoNT-sensitivity of an in vitro model of human muscle-nerve system.

Functional muscle-nerve coculture system was developed using hMNs and human immortalized skeletal muscle cells. Our results demonstrated that hMNs can innervate myotubes and induce contractions and calcium transient in muscle cells, generating an in vitro human motor endplate showing dose-dependent sensitivity to BoNTs intoxication. The implementation of optogenetics combined with live calcium imaging allows to monitor the impact of BoNTs intoxication on synaptic transmission in human motor endplate model.

Altogether, their findings demonstrate the promise of optogenetically hiPSC-derived controlled muscle-nerve system for pharmaceutical BoNTs testing and development.


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Authors :

Juliette Duchesne de Lamotte, Jérôme Polentes, Florine Roussange, Léa Lesueur, Pauline Feurgard, Anselme Perrier, Camille Nicoleau & Cécile Martinat.