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Exp Neurol. 2005 Jan;191(1):193-7.

Quiescent neural cells regain multipotent stem cell characteristics influenced by adult neural stem cells in co-culture.

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  • 1Neuroscience Research Laboratory, Deparment of Neurosurgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, VAMC, 5000 W. National Avenue 151, Building 70-D, Milwaukee, WI 53295, USA.


The source of cells participating in central nervous system (CNS) tissue repair and regeneration is poorly defined. One possible source is quiescent neural cells that can persist in CNS in the form of dormant progenitors or highly specialized cell types. Under appropriate conditions, these quiescent cells may be capable of re-entering the mitotic cell cycle and contributing to the stem cell pool. The aim of this study was to determine whether in vitro differentiated neural stem cells (NSC) can regain their multipotent-like stem cell characteristics in co-culture with NSC. To this end, we induced neural differentiation by plating NSC, derived from the periventricular subependymal zone (SEZ) of ROSA26 transgenic mice in Neurobasal A/B27 medium in the absence of bFGF. Under these conditions, NSC differentiated into neurons, glia, and oligodendrocytes. While the level of Nestin expression was downregulated, persistence of dormant progenitors could not be ruled out. However, further addition of bFGF or bFGF/EGF with conditioned medium derived from adult NSC did not induce any noticeable cell proliferation. In another experiment, differentiated neural cells were cultured with adult NSC, isolated from the hippocampus of Balb/c mice, in the presence bFGF. This resulted in proliferating colonies of ROSA26 derived cells that mimicked NSC in their morphology, growth kinetics, and expressed NSC marker proteins. The average nuclear area and DAPI fluorescence intensity of these cells were similar to that of NSC grown alone. We conclude that reactivation of quiescent neural cells can be initiated by NSC-associated short-range cues but not by cell fusion.

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