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Mol Neurobiol. 2006 Dec;34(3):153-61.

Strengths and limitations of the neurosphere culture system.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Medical Science and Lund Strategic Center for Stem Cell Biology and Cell Therapy, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Abstract

After the initial reports of free-floating cultures of neural stem cells termed neurospheres (1,2), a wide array of studies using this promising culture system emerged. In theory, this was a near-perfect system for large-scale production of neural cells for use in cell replacement therapies and to assay for and characterize neural stem cells. More than a decade later, after rigorous scrutiny and ample experimental testing of the neurosphere culture system, it has become apparent that the culture system suffers from several disadvantages, and its usefulness is limited for several applications. Nevertheless, the bulk of high-quality research produced over the last decade has also shown that under the right circumstances and for the appropriate purposes, neurospheres hold up to their initial promise. This article discusses the pros and cons of the neurosphere culture system regarding its three major applications: as an assay for neural stem cells, as a model system for neurogenesis and neural development, and for expansion of neural stem cells for transplantation purposes.

PMID:
17308349
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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