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Biotech Histochem. 2005 Sep-Dec;80(5-6):189-200.

Clonal analysis of adult human olfactory neurosphere forming cells.

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Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, University of Louisville, School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky 40292, USA.


Olfactory neuroepithelium (ONe) is unique because it contains progenitor cells capable of mitotic division that replace damaged or lost neurons throughout life. We isolated populations of ONe progenitors from adult cadavers and patients undergoing nasal sinus surgery that were heterogeneous and consisted of neuronal and glial progenitors. Progenitor lines have been obtained from these cultures that continue to divide and form nestin positive neurospheres. In the present study, we used clonal and population analyses to probe the self-renewal and multipotency of the neurosphere forming cells (NSFCs). NSFCs plated at the single cell level produced additional neurospheres; dissociation of these spheres resulted in mitotically active cells that continued to divide and produce spheres as long as they were subcultured. The mitotic activity of clonal NSFCs was assessed using bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation. Lineage restriction of the clonal cultures was determined using a variety of antibodies that were characteristic of different levels of neuronal commitment: ss-tubulin isotype III, neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) and microtubule associated protein (MAP2), or glial restriction: astrocytes, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP); and oligodendrocytes, galactocerebroside (GalC). Furthermore, nestin expression, a marker indicative of progenitor nature, decreased in defined medium compared to serum-containing medium. Therefore, adult human ONe-derived neural progenitors retain their capacity for self-renewal, can be clonally expanded, and offer multipotent lineage restriction. Therefore, they are a unique source of progenitors for future cell replacement strategies in the treatment of neurotrauma and neurodegenerative diseases.

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