Cultured Neuronal Cell Lines
For neuroscientists, the quest for truly predictive neural models has its challenges given the brain a very complex organ comprised of many diverse cell types, complex cell-to-cell interactions and intricate signaling pathways. The availability of well-characterized and immortalized neural cell lines has led to a rapid expansion of knowledge in many aspects of neurobiology. Unlike primary cells, the major advantages of cell lines are that they are capable of long-term or indefinite growth, and generally represent a single cell type, providing a degree of reproducibility and simplicity in an otherwise complicated biological field. With these advantages come disadvantages as well, but careful experimental design, and an appreciation of the limits of the approach, allows the investigator using neural cell lines a powerful tool in answering precise questions with a minimum of interpretational complications. Furthermore, the use of cell lines eliminates the vast cost and other concerns associated with animals as a source of experimental material.