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Stem Cell Res. 2013 May;10(3):417-427. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2013.01.009. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

EZ spheres: a stable and expandable culture system for the generation of pre-rosette multipotent stem cells from human ESCs and iPSCs.

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Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53226.
Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048.
Department of Biosciences and Centre for Stem Cell Research, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Viotti 3/5, 20133 Milano, Italy.
Contributed equally


We have developed a simple method to generate and expand multipotent, self-renewing pre-rosette neural stem cells from both human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) without utilizing embryoid body formation, manual selection techniques, or complex combinations of small molecules. Human ESC and iPSC colonies were lifted and placed in a neural stem cell medium containing high concentrations of EGF and FGF-2. Cell aggregates (termed EZ spheres) could be expanded for long periods using a chopping method that maintained cell-cell contact. Early passage EZ spheres rapidly down-regulated OCT4 and up-regulated SOX2 and nestin expression. They retained the potential to form neural rosettes and consistently differentiated into a range of central and peripheral neural lineages. Thus, they represent a very early neural stem cell with greater differentiation flexibility than other previously described methods. As such, they will be useful for the rapidly expanding field of neurological development and disease modeling, high-content screening, and regenerative therapies based on pluripotent stem cell technology.

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