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Stem Cells Dev. 2016 May 15;25(10):803-13. doi: 10.1089/scd.2015.0345. Epub 2016 May 2.

Differentiation of Spiral Ganglion-Derived Neural Stem Cells into Functional Synaptogenetic Neurons.

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1 Department of Otolaryngology-HNS, Wayne State University School of Medicine , Detroit, Michigan.
2 Department of Pharmacology, Wayne State University School of Medicine , Detroit, Michigan.


Spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) are usually damaged in sensorineural hearing loss. SGN-derived neural stem cells (NSCs) have been identified and proposed to differentiate into neurons to replace damaged SGNs. However, it remains obscure whether SGN-NSC-derived neurons (ScNs) are electrophysiologically functional and possess the capability to form neural connections. Here, we found that SGN-derived cells demonstrated NSC characteristics and differentiated into SGN-like glutamatergic neurons. Neurotrophins significantly increased neuronal differentiation and neurite length of ScNs. Patch clamp recording revealed that ScNs possessed SGN-like NaV and HCN channels, suggesting electrophysiological function. FM1-43 staining and synaptic protein immunofluorescence showed ScNs possess the ability to form neural connections. Astrocyte-conditioned medium was able to stimulate ScNs to express synaptic proteins. These data suggested that neurotrophins are able to stimulate postnatal SGN-NSCs to differentiate into functional glutamatergic ScNs with the capability to form synaptic connections in vitro.

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