Preservation of neural stem cells (NSCs) in the adult peripheral nervous system (PNS) has recently been confirmed. However, it is not clear whether peripheral NSCs possess predestined, bona fide phenotypes or a response to innate developmental cues. In this study, we first demonstrated the longevity, multipotency, and high fidelity of sensory features of postmigrating adult dorsal root ganglia (aDRG) stem cells. Derived from aDRG and after 4‐5 years in culture without dissociating, the aDRG NSCs were found capable of proliferation, expressing neuroepithelial, neuronal, and glial markers. Remarkably, these aDRG NSCs expressed sensory neuronal markers vesicular glutamate transporter2 (VGluT2—glutamate terminals), transient receptor potential vanilloid1 (TrpV1—capsaicin sensitive), phosphorylated 200 kDa neurofilaments (pNF200—capsaicin insensitive, myelinated), and the serotonin transporter (5-HTT), which normally is transiently expressed in developing DRG. Furthermore, in response to neurotrophins, the aDRG NSCs enhanced TrpV1 expression upon exposure to nerve growth factor (NGF), but not to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). On the contrary, BDNF increased the expression of NeuN. Third, the characterization of aDRG NSCs was demonstrated by transplantation of red fluorescent-expressing aDRG NSCs into injured spinal cord. These cells expressed nestin, Hu, and -III-tubulin (immature neuronal markers), GFAP (astrocyte marker) as well as sensory neural marker TrpV1 (capsaicin sensitive) and pNF200 (mature, capsaicin insensitive, myelinated). Our results demonstrated that the postmigrating neural crest adult DRG stem cells not only preserved their multipotency but also were retentive in sensory potency despite the age and long-term ex vivo status.
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.