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Exp Neurol. 2004 Aug;188(2):205-23.

BMP signaling initiates a neural crest differentiation program in embryonic rat CNS stem cells.

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Department of Neurosurgery, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami School of Medicine, FL 33136, USA.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) have an important role in neuronal and astrocytic differentiation of embryonic and adult neural stem cells (NSCs). Here, we show that BMP6, BMP7, GDF5, and GDF6 instructively differentiate E12, E14, and E17 rat cortical NSCs into a variety of neural crest lineages. Clonal analysis shows that BMP7-treated NSCs develop mostly into smooth muscle and peripheral glia. We observed a rapid induction of premigratory neural crest markers like p75NTR, and AP-2 alpha followed by Msx1, Msx2, and Slug, transcription factors that participate in neural crest development. These results suggest that NSCs cultured in vitro in the presence of FGF2 display expanded developmental potential.

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