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Stem Cells Dev. 2012 Mar 20;21(5):742-56. doi: 10.1089/scd.2011.0419. Epub 2012 Jan 26.

Isolation of novel multipotent neural crest-derived stem cells from adult human inferior turbinate.

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Molecular Neurobiology, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany.


Adult human neural crest-derived stem cells (NCSCs) are of extraordinary high plasticity and promising candidates for the use in regenerative medicine. Here we describe for the first time a novel neural crest-derived stem cell population within the respiratory epithelium of human adult inferior turbinate. In contrast to superior and middle turbinates, high amounts of source material could be isolated from human inferior turbinates. Using minimally-invasive surgery methods isolation is efficient even in older patients. Within their endogenous niche, inferior turbinate stem cells (ITSCs) expressed high levels of nestin, p75(NTR), and S100. Immunoelectron microscopy using anti-p75 antibodies displayed that ITSCs are of glial origin and closely related to nonmyelinating Schwann cells. Cultivated ITSCs were positive for nestin and S100 and the neural crest markers Slug and SOX10. Whole genome microarray analysis showed pronounced differences to human ES cells in respect to pluripotency markers OCT4, SOX2, LIN28, and NANOG, whereas expression of WDR5, KLF4, and c-MYC was nearly similar. ITSCs were able to differentiate into cells with neuro-ectodermal and mesodermal phenotype. Additionally ITSCs are able to survive and perform neural crest typical chain migration in vivo when transplanted into chicken embryos. However ITSCs do not form teratomas in severe combined immunodeficient mice. Finally, we developed a separation strategy based on magnetic cell sorting of p75(NTR) positive ITSCs that formed larger neurospheres and proliferated faster than p75(NTR) negative ITSCs. Taken together our study describes a novel, readily accessible source of multipotent human NCSCs for potential cell-replacement therapy.

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