Every day Glial cell studies, such as those concerning Astrocytes, are becoming more relevant when it comes to the analysis of basic brain function, drug design, and pharmacology.  A joint inter-departmental effort between Biochemistry, Neuroscience and the Center of Learning and Information Resources at UCC, together in collaboration with the Pharmacology Department at UPR Medical Sciences Campus (MSC), led to the first scientific article published as a video-journal from UCC, in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).  The video article, entitled “Monitoring Astrocyte Reactivity and Proliferation in Vitro Under Ischemic-Like Conditions”, describes in a 15 minute video, and a very detailed manuscript, how to isolate and purify the fundamental brain cells known as astrocytes from rat pup cortices.   Astrocytes are crucial cells that protect neurons, especially under oxygen-deprived conditions, such as those found after an ischemic stroke.  The published methodology, who’s corresponding author is Dr. Henrique Martins from UPR-RCM, adjunct professor at UCC, allows researchers to obtain a highly purified primary astrocytic cell culture and study their characteristics independently from other brain cells.  This allows researchers to study their role, physiological characteristics, or specific drug effects, under ischemic-stroke-like conditions. 

What is special about the format of JoVE’s peer-reviewed video-articles is that anyone with the right materials can easily follow the procedures in a “learning-by-watching” fashion or in a “learning-by-following- a- written-recipe-fashion”.  The scientific video preparation (video filming, audio, and editing) was possible thanks to UCC’s Specialist in Technology and Communication Systems, Mr. José Padilla, from the UCC’s Center of Learning and Information Resources. His patience and effort throughout this process will be endlessly appreciated, and overall, he made it a fun learning experience.  Also, the technical expertise of Ms. Paola Pierladi was essential to show in a detailed manner the step-by step process, from preparation of materials to brain cell isolation and culture of astrocytes.

This publication’s effort is a proof that the UPR MSC, Universidad Central del Caribe, its faculty, graduate students, and technology & communication support, can merge fields and collaborate, leading to an educational video production and manuscript publication that will make an impact in the fields of Education, Astrocyte Biology and Stroke.

The authors would like to thank all the support of the RCMI and SNRP programs who contributed in the facilities, publication costs, and fellowships of students working in this project. 

The following link will lead you to the video-article publication in JoVE:


Ferrer-Acosta, Y.*, Gonzalez-Vega, M. N.*, Rivera-Aponte, D. E., Martinez-Jimenez, S. M., Martins, A. H. Monitoring Astrocyte Reactivity and Proliferation in Vitro Under Ischemic-Like Conditions. J. Vis. Exp. (128), e55108, doi:10.3791/55108 (2017).

* These authors contributed equally