Neural cell co-culture induced differentiation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells into neuronal-like cells

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It has been previously demonstrated that the neural cell microenvironment has the ability to induce differentiation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) into the neural cells.

OBJECTIVE:

To establish a co-culture system of human BMSCs and neural cells, and to observe effects of this co-culture system on differentiation of human BMSCs into neural cells.

DESIGN, TIME AND SETTING:

A comparative observation experiment, performed at the Center Laboratory of the Affiliated Hospital of Medical College Qingdao University from October 2006 to December 2007.

MATERIALS:

Neural cells were obtained from human fetal brain tissue. BMSCs were harvested from female patients that underwent autonomous stem cell transplantation.

METHODS:

BMSCs in the co-culture group consisted of BMSCs and third passage neural cells. BMSCs in the control group were solely cultured in vitro.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Morphological changes of BMSCs were observed, and expression of the neuronal specific marker, neuron-specific enolase (NSE), was analyzed by immunofluorescence staining after 4–5-day co-culture.

RESULTS:

The number of neural cells in the co-culture group increased and the cells spread on the culture bottle surface. Radial dendrite formed and connected with each other. NSE-immunoreactive cells were also detected. The positive ratio of NSE-positive cells reached (32.7±11.5)%, with morphological characteristics similar to neuronal cells. Human BMSCs did not express NSE in the control group.

CONCLUSION:

The microenvironment provided by neurons induced differentiation of BMSCs into neuronal-like cells.

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