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Nat Biotechnol. 1998 Nov;16(11):1033-9.

Engraftable human neural stem cells respond to developmental cues, replace neurons, and express foreign genes.

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Department of Neurology, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Stable clones of neural stem cells (NSCs) have been isolated from the human fetal telencephalon. These self-renewing clones give rise to all fundamental neural lineages in vitro. Following transplantation into germinal zones of the newborn mouse brain they participate in aspects of normal development, including migration along established migratory pathways to disseminated central nervous system regions, differentiation into multiple developmentally and regionally appropriate cell types, and nondisruptive interspersion with host progenitors and their progeny. These human NSCs can be genetically engineered and are capable of expressing foreign transgenes in vivo. Supporting their gene therapy potential, secretory products from NSCs can correct a prototypical genetic metabolic defect in neurons and glia in vitro. The human NSCs can also replace specific deficient neuronal populations. Cryopreservable human NSCs may be propagated by both epigenetic and genetic means that are comparably safe and effective. By analogy to rodent NSCs, these observations may allow the development of NSC transplantation for a range of disorders.

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