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Murine Brain Progenitor Cells Have the Ability to Differentiate Into Functional Neurons and Integrate Into the CNS

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Although neural stem and progenitor cells have been shown to differentiate into neurons, few studies have examined the physiological properties of the differentiated neurons derived from stem cells. Here we show that mouse brain progenitor cells (mBPCs) differentiated in culture by removal of mitogenic factors or addition of BDNF or GDNF express neuronal-specific proteins including MAP-2 and synaptobrevin II. However, these cells demonstrate small voltage-gated Na+ currents and are not able to generate action potentials. When the mBPCs are cocultured with developing rat hippocampal neurons, the stem cells differentiate into neurons expressing MAP-2, develop large voltage-gated Na+ currents, and are able to generate action potentials. To investigate the influence of a mature CNS environment on survival, differentiation, migration, and morphological integration, mBPCs were transplanted into the spinal cord of adult mice. Undifferentiated cells transplanted into the spinal cord exhibited limited migration and expressed NG2, but did not differentiate to express MAP-2. Predifferentiated cells migrated to both gray and white matter with about 23% cells developing MAP-2 immunoreactivity after 8 weeks. These results suggest that both the environment and state of differentiation may dictate migration and the differentiation pathway of stem cells after transplantation.
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Keywords: Electrophysiology; Growth factors; Neuronal markers; Oligodendrocyte; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA 2: Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Publication date: 2006-08-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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