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Methods Mol Biol. 2011;767:399-409. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-201-4_29.

Derivation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells from human embryonic stem cells.

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Keirstead Research Group, Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA.


The directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into specific, determined, and high-purity cell types can provide a means to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms of development and to generate cells for potential therapeutic applications. The ability to derive homogeneous cell populations obviates the need for transgene expression or cell sorting methods and can improve selection efficiency, lineage differentiation, cell viability, and clinical utility. Compared to undifferentiated pluripotent stem cells, high-purity cell phenotypes for clinical therapeutic strategies are expected to enhance engraftment, potentiate clinical efficacy, and decrease the risk of adverse effects such as dedifferentiation or teratoma formation. Clinical interest in the derivation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells from pluripotent stem cells is based on research that demonstrates the effectiveness of progenitor cell transplants to improve outcomes after spinal cord injury. Here, we describe a protocol to generate oligodendroglial lineage-specific cells in high purity from human embryonic stem cells.

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