In our daily lives we are exposed to thousands of commercially used chemicals. Many of these chemicals are not toxic at typical exposure levels, but for thousands of chemicals, toxicological information is lacking. The National Academy of Sciences report on ‘‘Toxicity testing in the 21st century’’ highlighted the need for efficient methods to screen chemicals (e.g. insecticides) for their potential to cause toxicity.
When screening compounds for the potential to disrupt the nervous system, measuring neural activity is crucial, since many neurotoxins are known to disrupt ion channel, and receptor activity in the absence of other biochemical or structural changes to the cell. In this Coffee Break Webinar, Dr Lorena Saavedra (NeuCyte) discusses how measuring compound-induced changes to the spontaneous firing activity of human stem cell-derived neural cells in an MEA assay helped detect potentially harmful neurological side effects of compounds such as pyrethroid insecticides.