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Stem Cells Dev. 2007 Jun;16(3):447-60.

Highly efficient neural differentiation of human somatic stem cells, isolated by minimally invasive periodontal surgery.

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Institute of Neurobiochemistry, University of Witten, Herdecke, Witten, Germany.


Neural stem cells (NSCs) are potential sources for cell therapy of neurodegenerative diseases and for drug screening. Despite their potential benefits, ethical and practical considerations limit the application of NSCs derived from human embryonic stem cells (ES) or adult brain tissue. Thus, alternative sources are required to satisfy the criteria of ready accessibility, rapid expansion in chemically defined media and reliable induction to a neuronal fate. We isolated somatic stem cells from the human periodontium that were collected during minimally invasive periodontal access flap surgery as part of guided tissue regeneration therapy. These cells could be propagated as neurospheres in serum-free medium, which underscores their cranial neural crest cell origin. Culture in the presence of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) under serum-free conditions resulted in large numbers of nestin-positive/Sox-2-positive NSCs. These periodontium-derived (pd) NSCs are highly proliferative and migrate in response to chemokines that have been described as inducing NSC migration. We used immunocytochemical techniques and RT-PCR analysis to assess neural differentiation after treatment of the expanded cells with a novel induction medium. Adherence to substrate, growth factor deprivation, and retinoic acid treatment led to the acquisition of neuronal morphology and stable expression of markers of neuronal differentiation by more than 90% of the cells. Thus, our novel method might provide nearly limitless numbers of neuronal precursors from a readily accessible autologous adult human source, which could be used as a platform for further experimental studies and has potential therapeutic implications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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