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Gene. 2012 Nov 1;509(1):85-92. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2012.07.088. Epub 2012 Aug 22.

Safrole oxide induced neuronal differentiation of rat bone-marrow mesenchymal stem cells by elevating Hsp70.

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Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Cells and Developmental Biology, Institute of Developmental Biology, School of Life Science, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China.


In a previous study, we found that at low concentrations, safrole oxide (SFO) could induce vascular endothelial cell (VEC) transdifferentiation into neuron-like cells; however, whether SFO could induce bone-marrow mesenchymal stem cell (BMSC) neural differentiation was unknown. Here, we found that SFO could effectively induce BMSC neural differentiation in the presence of serum and fibroblast growth factor 2 and did not affect cell viability at low concentrations. The levels of neuron-specific enolase and neurofilament-L were increased greatly, but that of glial fibrillary acidic protein was absent with SFO treatment for 48h. Furthermore, SFO could increase the level of heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), an important factor in neuronal differentiation. Knockdown of Hsp70 by its small interfering RNA blocked SFO-induced BMSC differentiation. Thus, SFO is a novel inducer of BMSC differentiation to neuron-like cells and Hsp70 is implicated in the differentiation process. We provide a new tool for obtaining neuron-like cells from BMSCs and for further investigating the new effect of Hsp70 on BMSC neuronal differentiation.

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