The purpose of this study was to elucidate the biological significance and the possibility of intracerebral grafting of neuroepithelial stem cells derived from the mesencephalic neural plate. Immunohistological studies of embryonic day 10.5 (E10.5) Wister rats revealed strong nestin expression in the mesencephalic part of the neural plate. Mesencephalic neural plates removed from E10.5 rats were processed to either tissue or cell dissociation culture. They were cultured in vitro under various conditions and were analyzed 7 days after the primary culture. When they were cultured as a tissue, cell proliferation and differentiation into neurons extending long neurites were obvious in a serum-free medium, in a medium containing 3% serum, and in a medium containing 20 ng/ml epidermal growth factor. On the other hand, in a medium containing 10 ng/ml basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), both vigorous cell proliferation and sphere formation were recognized. Furthermore, marked neurite growth was rarely seen in this culture. When they were plated in a dissociation culture, cell proliferation and neurosphere generation were also recognized only in a medium containing bFGF, depending on the initial cell concentration. The spheres, generated 7 days after the primary cell culture, were positively stained by nestin. These data suggested that bFGF was able to amplify the stem cell population present in the mesencephalic neural plate derived from early embryos. This might make it possible to obtain a large number of stem cells as donor material for neural transplantation on demand.
Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, Keio University, Shinanomachi 35, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan
Publication date: January 1, 2002
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