Neuronal PC12 and SH-SY5Y cells are highly suitable in vitro models for study of the neurodegenerative mechanisms occurring in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Differentiated PC12 and SH-SY5Y cells bear many similarities to the neuronal populations affected in PD, and they provide a convenient source of large amounts of homogeneous material for biochemical and molecular downstream applications. In the present review, we describe how to differentiate PC12 and SH-SY5Y cells into neuron-like cells and provide protocols for their transfection with plasmids and infection with viral particles to manipulate gene expression. We also describe how to treat neuronal PC12 and SH-SY5Y cells with the classical PD neurotoxins 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-pyridinium ion (MPP+). Finally, we give detailed methods for several downstream applications useful for the analysis of cell death pathways in PD.
Part of the book: Gene Expression and Regulation in Mammalian Cells