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Exp Neurol. 2004 Jun;187(2):319-28.

Characterization of neuronal/glial differentiation of murine adipose-derived adult stromal cells.

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Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Neural tissue has limited capacity for intrinsic repair after injury, and the identification of alternate sources of neuronal stem cells has broad clinical potential. Preliminary studies have demonstrated that adipose-derived adult stromal (ADAS) cells are capable of differentiating into mesenchymal and non-mesenchymal cells in vitro, including cells with select characteristics of neuronal/glial tissue. In this study, we extended these observations to test the hypothesis that murine (mu) ADAS cells can be induced to exhibit characteristics of neuronal and glial tissue by exposure to a cocktail of induction agents. We characterized the differentiation of muADAS cells in vitro using immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting, and examined whether these cells respond to the glutamate agonist N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA). We found that induced muADAS cells express proteins indicative of neuronal/glial cells, including nestin, GFAP, S-100, NeuN, MAP2, tau, and beta-III tubulin. Induced muADAS cells express gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the NR-1 and NR-2 subunits of the glutamate receptor, GAP-43, synapsin I, and voltage-gated calcium channels. Finally, induced muADAS cells demonstrate decreased viability in response to NMDA. These findings suggest that muADAS cells can be induced to exhibit several phenotypic, morphologic, and excitotoxic characteristics consistent with developing neuronal and glial tissue.

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