The neural crest is a transient structure of vertebrate embryos that initially generates neural crest stem cells (NCSCs) which then migrate throughout the body to produce a diverse array of mature tissue types. Due to the rarity of adult NCSCs as well as ethical and technical issues surrounding isolation of early embryonic tissues, biologic studies of human NCSCs are extremely challenging. Thus, much of what is known about human neural crest development has been inferred from model organisms. In this study, we report that functional NCSCs can be rapidly generated and isolated from in vitro-differentiated human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Using the stromal-derived inducing activity (SDIA) of PA6 fibroblast co-culture we have induced hESCs to differentiate into neural crest. Within 1 week, migrating cells that express the early neural crest markers p75 and HNK1 as well as numerous other genes associated with neural crest induction such as SNAIL, SLUG, and SOX10 are detectable. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)-based isolation of the p75-positive population enriches for cells with genetic, phenotypic, and functional characteristics of NCSCs. These p75-enriched cells readily form neurospheres in suspension culture, self-renew to form secondary spheres, and give rise under differentiation conditions to multiple neural crest lineages including peripheral nerves, glial, and myofibroblastic cells. Importantly, these cells differentiate into neural crest derivatives when transplanted into developing chick embryos in vivo. Thus, this SDIA protocol can be used to successfully and efficiently isolate early human NCSCs from hESCs in vitro. This renewable source of NCSCs provides an invaluable source of cells for studies of both normal and disordered human neural crest development.
"Cells were collected, washed and then prepared into single cell suspension. Neural crest stem cells were screened using flow-cytometric cell sorting as described previously (Jiang et al., 2009; Yang and Xu, 2013). Briefly, cells were diluted with PBS to a final concentration of 10–20 × 10 6 cells/mL. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hair follicle-derived neural crest stem cells can be induced to differentiate into Schwann cells in vivo and in vitro. However, the underlying regulatory mechanism during cell differentiation remains poorly understood. This study isolated neural crest stem cells from human hair follicles and induced them to differentiate into Schwann cells. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that microRNA (miR)-21 expression was gradually increased during the differentiation of neural crest stem cells into Schwann cells. After transfection with the miR-21 agonist (agomir-21), the differentiation capacity of neural crest stem cells was enhanced. By contrast, after transfection with the miR-21 antagonist (antagomir-21), the differentiation capacity was attenuated. Further study results showed that SOX-2 was an effective target of miR-21. Without compromising SOX2 mRNA expression, miR-21 can down-regulate SOX protein expression by binding to the 3'-UTR of miR-21 mRNA. Knocking out the SOX2 gene from the neural crest stem cells significantly reversed the antagomir-21 inhibition of neural crest stem cells differentiating into Schwann cells. The results suggest that miR-21 expression was increased during the differentiation of neural crest stem cells into Schwann cells and miR-21 promoted the differentiation through down-regulating SOX protein expression by binding to the 3'-UTR of SOX2 mRNA.
Neural Regeneration Research 04/2014; 9(8):828-36. DOI:10.4103/1673-5374.131599 · 0.22 Impact Factor
"As isolation of NCSCs and SAPs is hampered by the small number and limited life span of the cells that can be procured, murine neural tube explant cells have been immortalized by oncogenes , . To obtain NCSCs and SAPs without the potentially confounding effects of immortalization, NCSC-like and SAP-like cells have been differentiated from murine embryonic stem cells –, human ESC – and human iPS . Fetal noradrenaline-secreting chromaffin cells isolated from human fetuses could be propagated as neurospheres , . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sympathoadrenergic progenitor cells (SAPs) of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) are important for normal development of the sympathetic PNS and for the genesis of neuroblastoma, the most common and often lethal extracranial solid tumor in childhood. However, it remains difficult to isolate sufficient numbers of SAPs for investigations. We therefore set out to improve generation of SAPs by using two complementary approaches, differentiation from murine embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and isolation from postnatal murine adrenal glands. We provide evidence that selecting for GD2 expression enriches for ESC-derived SAP-like cells and that proliferating SAP-like cells can be isolated from postnatal adrenal glands of mice. These advances may facilitate investigations about the development and malignant transformation of the sympathetic PNS.
PLoS ONE 05/2013; 8(5):e64454. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0064454 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"Expression of this protein is observed on migrating neural crest populations during development and is also detected on adult stem cells with NC properties , , . Separation of NGFR-expressing cells before full neural differentiation isolated a population of cells with genetic, phenotypic and functional characteristics of embryonic NC cells . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Corneal transparency depends on a unique extracellular matrix secreted by stromal keratocytes, mesenchymal cells of neural crest lineage. Derivation of keratocytes from human embryonic stem (hES) cells could elucidate the keratocyte developmental pathway and open a potential for cell-based therapy for corneal blindness. This study seeks to identify conditions inducing differentiation of pluripotent hES cells to the keratocyte lineage. Neural differentiation of hES cell line WA01(H1) was induced by co-culture with mouse PA6 fibroblasts. After 6 days of co-culture, hES cells expressing cell-surface NGFR protein (CD271, p75NTR) were isolated by immunoaffinity adsorption, and cultured as a monolayer for one week. Keratocyte phenotype was induced by substratum-independent pellet culture in serum-free medium containing ascorbate. Gene expression, examined by quantitative RT-PCR, found hES cells co-cultured with PA6 cells for 6 days to upregulate expression of neural crest genes including NGFR, SNAI1, NTRK3, SOX9, and MSX1. Isolated NGFR-expressing cells were free of PA6 feeder cells. After expansion as a monolayer, mRNAs typifying adult stromal stem cells were detected, including BMI1, KIT, NES, NOTCH1, and SIX2. When these cells were cultured as substratum-free pellets keratocyte markers AQP1, B3GNT7, PTDGS, and ALDH3A1 were upregulated. mRNA for keratocan (KERA), a cornea-specific proteoglycan, was upregulated more than 10,000 fold. Culture medium from pellets contained high molecular weight keratocan modified with keratan sulfate, a unique molecular component of corneal stroma. These results show hES cells can be induced to differentiate into keratocytes in vitro. Pluripotent stem cells, therefore, may provide a renewable source of material for development of treatment of corneal stromal opacities.
PLoS ONE 02/2013; 8(2):e56831. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0056831 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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