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  • Writer's pictureClive Roper

Bite Sized Cool Technologies Series: Alcyomics

Updated: Jun 6, 2022

I have known Anne Dickinson from Alcyomics for a few years and have only known Alcyomics for their Skimune model, which in itself is cool technology. However, when Anne told me about this, I felt it would be great to tell you about it.

Alcyomics ® has developed a 3D neuronal tissue model based in an inert polyHIPE scaffold that enables the culture of multiple cell lineages together in one system. iPSC derived neurons and Schwann cells are cultured within a human dermal fibroblast, human extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and a well-defined keratinocyte epidermal layer co-culture model. Markers for mature neurite formation (TUJ1) can be observed extending throughout the 3D construct with direct interaction with surrounding cell lineages (Figures 1, 2 and 3).

Figure 1 High resolution TUJ1 staining of 2D neuronal cells.

Figure 2 Whole well TUJ1 staining of 96 well 2D tissue culture plate.

TUJ1 (βIII Tubulin) is a microtubule protein found extensively and exclusively in neuronal cells. High resolution TUJ1 staining demonstrates the extend to which neurites can move throughout the model, innervating cells in the dermis and epidermis along the way (Figure3).

Figure 3. Left: Histological staining of 3D model. Right: TUJ1 staining of neurons within the 3D tissue model.

When exposed to known neuronal irritants, this cool technology model responds though changes in Substance P (neurotransmitter) release (Figure 4).

Figure 4 Stimulatory assessment of 3D models using capsaicin, menthol and KCl.

Stimulatory assessment with Capsaicin (TRPV1 agonist), menthol (TRPM8 agonist) and KCL demonstrate the efficacy of the innervated skin model to react to external insulting stimuli. In each instance neuro-stimulants were capable of stimulating an increase in Substance P release when compared to controls and low (sub-threshold) stimulation (Figure 4).

If you would like to know more about this cool technology, contact me and I can introduce you to Anne and her colleagues. Alternatively, contact or Matt Freer (Scientific Business Development Officer) at and tell him you learnt about this model in Episode 3 of the Bite Sized Cool Technologies Series.

I wish to acknowledge a big thank you to Alcyomics for kindly allowing me to reproduce their photographs on my Blog.

There is a lot of cool technology out there in many different areas of science, the fourth in the series will appear soon.

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