Studies on the Differentiation of Dopaminergic Traits in Human Neural Progenitor Cells In Vitro and In Vivo
Abstract:The development of cell replacement therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) may depend upon the successful differentiation of human neural stem/progenitor cells into dopamine (DA) neurons. We show here that primary human neural progenitors (HNPs) can be expanded and maintained in culture both as neurospheres (NSPs) and attached monolayers where they develop into neurons and glia. When transplanted into the 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rat striatum, undifferentiated NSPs survive longer (60% graft survival at 8–16 weeks vs. 30% graft survival at 8–13 weeks) and migrate farther than their attached counterparts. While both NSP and attached cells continue to express neuronal traits after transplantation, the spontaneous expression of differentiated transmitter-related traits is not observed in either cell type. However, following predifferentiation in culture using a previously described cocktail of reagents, approximately 25% of HNPs can permanently express the DA enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), even following replating and removal of the DA differentiation cocktail. When these predifferentiated HNPs are transplanted into the brain, however, TH staining is not observed, either because expression is lost or TH-expressing cells preferentially die. Consistent with the latter view is a decrease in total cell survival and migration, and an enhanced glial response in these grafts. In contrast, we found that the overall survival of HNPs is improved when cells engraft near blood vessels or CSF compartments or when they are placed into an intact unlesioned brain, suggesting that there are factors, as yet unidentified, that can better support the development of engrafted HNPs.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: *Farber Institute for Neurosciences, Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University Medical College, 900 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 2: †ScienCell Research Laboratories, 4050 Sorrento Valley Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92121
Publication date: January 1, 2004
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