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Exp Neurol. 1997 Jun;145(2 Pt 1):342-60.

Survival, integration, and differentiation of neural stem cell lines after transplantation to the adult rat striatum.

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Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, University of Lund, Sweden.


The in vivo properties of four different neural stem cell lines, generated from embryonic striatum or hippocampus by immortalization with the temperature-sensitive (s) A58/U19 allele of the SV40 Large T-antigen, have been studied with respect to their ability to survive, differentiate, and integrate after transplantation to the adult rat striatum. The cells were labeled with [3H]thymidine prior to grafting, and combined autoradiography and immunohistochemistry was used to characterize their phenotypic differentiation within the adult brain environment. The results show that all four types of cells survived well, up to at least 1.5-6 months postgrafting, without any signs of tissue perturbation or tumor formation. The cells underwent, on average, 2-3 cell divisions during the first 5 days after implantation and exhibited extensive migration over a distance of 1-1.5 mm from the injection site to become morphologically integrated with the surrounding host striatum. The cell number and tissue distribution attained by 2 weeks remained stable for up to 6 months postgrafting with the exception of one cell line, which showed a 40% loss of cells between 2 and 6 weeks. Twice the number of [3H]thymidine-labeled cells were recovered when the cells were grafted into a 1-week-old excitotoxic striatal lesion, probably due to an increased proliferation of the cells in response to the neuron-depleting depleting lesion. The immortalized cells behaved as multipotent neural progenitors. The vast majority of the cells developed a glial-like morphology, 6-14% being clearly GFAP-positive; however, a small but consistent proportion of them (1-3%) expressed MAP-2 and exhibited neuron-like morphology. In mature transplants about 75-80% of the grafted cells were located in the striatal grey matter, and 10-15% in white matter, some of which are proposed to have differentiated into oligodendrocytes. Remaining 5-10% occurred around small blood vessels (resembling pericytes) and in the subventricular zone underneath the ependyma of the lateral ventricle. It is concluded that the ts cell lines are highly suitable for intracerebral transplantation and that they allow the creation of a regionally confined cellular chimeras where the graft-derived glial cells become stably integrated with the resident glial cell matrix.

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