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Nat Methods. 2011 Sep 25;8(11):957-62. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1712.

Rapid and robust generation of functional oligodendrocyte progenitor cells from epiblast stem cells.

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Department of Genetics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Myelin-related disorders such as multiple sclerosis and leukodystrophies, for which restoration of oligodendrocyte function would be an effective treatment, are poised to benefit greatly from stem cell biology. Progress in myelin repair has been constrained by difficulties in generating pure populations of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) in sufficient quantities. Pluripotent stem cells theoretically provide an unlimited source of OPCs, but current differentiation strategies are poorly reproducible and generate heterogenous populations of cells. Here we provide a platform for the directed differentiation of pluripotent mouse epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs) through defined developmental transitions into a pure population of highly expandable OPCs in 10 d. These OPCs robustly differentiate into myelinating oligodendrocytes in vitro and in vivo. Our results demonstrate that mouse pluripotent stem cells provide a pure population of myelinogenic oligodendrocytes and offer a tractable platform for defining the molecular regulation of oligodendrocyte development and drug screening.

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