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J Neurosci Methods. 2007 Jul 30;163(2):338-49. Epub 2007 Mar 3.

Lentiviral vector-mediated genetic modification of human neural progenitor cells for ex vivo gene therapy.

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Stem Cell Research Program, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1500 Highland Ave, Madison, WI 53705, USA.


Human neural progenitor cells (hNPC) hold great potential as an ex vivo system for delivery of therapeutic proteins to the central nervous system. When cultured as aggregates, termed neurospheres, hNPC are capable of significant in vitro expansion. In the current study, we present a robust method for lentiviral vector-mediated gene delivery into hNPC that maintains the differentiation and proliferative properties of neurosphere cultures while minimizing the amount of viral vector used and controlling the number of insertion sites per population. This method results in long-term, stable expression even after differentiation of the hNPC to neurons and astrocytes and allows for generation of equivalent transgenic populations of hNPC. In addition, the in vitro analysis presented predicts the behavior of transgenic lines in vivo when transplanted into a rodent model of Parkinson's disease. The methods presented provide a powerful tool for assessing the impact of factors such as promoter systems or different transgenes on the therapeutic utility of these cells.

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