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J Cell Physiol. 2014 Feb;229(2):232-44. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24442.

Induction of dopaminergic neurons from human Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stem cell by forskolin.

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Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, National Research Council, Rome, Italy.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stem cells differentiation ability toward neuronal fate. Human Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stem cells (hWJMSC) have been isolated from human umbilical cord of full-term births and characterized by flow cytometry analysis for their stem mesenchymal properties through specific surface markers expression (CD73, CD90, and CD105). hWJMSC mesodermal lineage differentiation ability and karyotype analysis were assessed. The trans-differentiation of hWJMSC into neural lineage was investigated in presence of forskolin, an agent known to increase the intracellular levels of cAMP. A molecular profile of differentiated hWJMSC was performed by microarray technology which revealed 1,532 statistically significant modulated genes respect to control cells. Most of these genes are mainly involved in functional neuronal signaling pathways and part of them are specifically required for the neuronal dopaminergic induction. The acquisition of the dopaminergic phenotype was evaluated via immunocytochemistry and Western blot analysis revealed the significant induction of Nurr1, NeuroD1, and TH proteins expression in forskolin-induced hWJMSC. Moreover, the treatment with forskolin promoted, in hWJMSC, a strong upregulation of the neurotrophin Trk receptors related to the high release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Taken together these findings show that hWJMSC may be represent an optimal therapeutic strategy for neurological diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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