Quantitative analysis of axonal transport by using compartmentalized and surface micropatterned culture of neurons

Hyung Joon Kim, Jeong Won Park, Jae Hwan Byun, Wayne W. Poon, Carl W. Cotman, Charless C. Fowlkes, Noo Li Jeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Mitochondria, synaptic vesicles, and other cytoplasmic constituents have to travel long distance along the axons from cell bodies to nerve terminals. Interruption of this axonal transport may contribute to many neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD). It has been recently shown that exposure of cultured neurons to β-amyloid (Aβ) resulted in severe impairment of mitochondrial transport. This Letter describes an integrated microfluidic platform that establishes surface patterned and compartmentalized culture of neurons for studying the effect of Aβ on mitochondria trafficking in full length of axons. We have successfully quantified the trafficking of fluorescently labeled mitochondria in distal and proximal axons using image processing. Selective treatment of Aβ in the somal or axonal compartments resulted in considerable decrease in mitochondria movement in a location dependent manner such that mitochondria trafficking slowed down more significantly proximal to the location of Aβ exposure. Furthermore, this result suggests a promising application of microfluidic technology for investigating the dysfunction of axonal transport related to neurodegenerative diseases. (Figure Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-438
Number of pages6
JournalACS Chemical Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 20 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • axonal transport
  • image processing
  • microfludics
  • mitochondrial trafficking
  • surface micropatterning
  • β-Amyloid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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