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J Anat. 2002 Jul;201(1):61-9.

Dopaminergic differentiation of the Nurr1-expressing immortalized mesencephalic cell line CSM14.1 in vitro.

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Institute of Anatomy, University of Rostock, Germany.


The use of neural stem cells as grafts is a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease, but the potential of stem cells to differentiate into dopaminergic neurones requires investigation. The present study examined the in vitro differentiation of the temperature-sensitive immortalized mesencephalic progenitor cell line CSM14.1 under defined conditions. Cells were derived from the mesencephalic region of a 14-day-old rat embryo, retrovirally immortalized with the Large T antigen and cultured at 33 degrees C in DMEM containing 10% fetal calf serum (FCS). For differentiation, the temperature was elevated at 39 degrees C and FCS was reduced (1%). Using histology, immunocytochemical detection of the stem cell marker Nestin and the neuronal marker MAP5 and, in addition, Western blotting to determine the presence of neurone-specific enolase and the neurone nuclei antigen we demonstrated a differentiation of these cells into neuronal cells accompanied by a decrease in Nestin production. In Western blots, we detected the orphan nuclear receptor Nurr1 in these cells. This was followed by a time-dependent up-regulation of the enzymes tyrosine hydroxylase and aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 characteristic of mature dopaminergic neurones. Our in vitro model of dopaminergic cell differentiation corroborates recent in vivo observations in the developing rodent brain.

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