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Mech Dev. 1995 Oct;53(2):275-87.

Differentiation of pluripotent embryonic stem cells into the neuronal lineage in vitro gives rise to mature inhibitory and excitatory neurons.

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1
Institut für Pharmakologie, FU Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

Embryonic stem (ES) cells represent a suitable model to analyze cell differentiation processes in vitro. Here, we report that pluripotent ES cells of the line BLC 6 differentiate in vitro into neuronal cells possessing the complex electrophysiological and immunocytochemical properties of postmitotic nerve cells. In the course of differentiation BLC 6-derived neurons differentially express voltage-dependent (K+, Na+, Ca2+) and receptor-operated (GABAA, glycine, AMPA, NMDA receptors) ionic channels. They generate fast Na(+)-driven action potentials and are functionally coupled by inhibitory (GABAergic) and excitatory (glutamatergic) synapses as revealed by measurements of postsynaptic currents. Moreover, BLC 6-derived neurons express neuron-specific cytoskeletal, cell adhesion and synaptic vesicle proteins and exhibit a Ca(2+)-dependent GABA secretion. Thus, the ES cell model enables the investigation of cell lineage determination and signaling mechanisms in the developing nervous system from a pluripotential stem cell to a differentiated postmitotic neuron. The in vitro differentiation of neurons from ES cells may be an excellent approach to study by targeted gene disruption a variety of neuronal functions.

PMID:
8562428
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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