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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Oct 15; 90(20): 9683–9687.

Reconstruction of neural tube-like structures in vitro from primary neural precursor cells.


Vertebrate central nervous system develops from a neural tube derived from the embryonic ectoderm. In mouse, the neural tube around embryonic day 10 primarily consists of neural precursor cells (NPCs). During the development of embryonic central nervous system, NPCs proliferate and migrate outward; thus later stages show NPCs toward the lumen of the neural tube and neurofilament-positive differentiated cells toward the periphery. In conventional liquid culture, NPCs isolated from mouse on embryonic day 10 proliferate and differentiate into neurofilament-positive neurons. In the present communication, we show that fragments of neural tubes and aggregates of NPCs, when placed into collagen gel matrix, form three-dimensional structures which resemble the neural tube formed in vivo in the developing embryos. Even dissociated NPCs form the three-dimensional structures in the collagen gel matrix. Our results indicate that individual NPCs or fragments of neural tubes carry morphogenetic information which allows them to reconstruct neural tube-like structures in vitro.

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