Rapid and robust generation of long-term self-renewing human neural stem cells with the ability to generate mature astroglia

Thomas Palm, Silvia Bolognin, Johannes Meiser, Sarah Nickels, Claudia Träger, Ralf Leslie Meilenbrock, Johannes Brockhaus, Miriam Schreitmüller, Markus Missler, Jens Christian Schwamborn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Induced pluripotent stem cell bear the potential to differentiate into any desired cell type and hold large promise for disease-in-a-dish cell-modeling approaches. With the latest advances in the field of reprogramming technology, the generation of patient-specific cells has become a standard technology. However, directed and homogenous differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into desired specific cell types remains an experimental challenge. Here, we report the development of a novel hiPSCs-based protocol enabling the generation of expandable homogenous human neural stem cells (hNSCs) that can be maintained under self-renewing conditions over high passage numbers. Our newly generated hNSCs retained differentiation potential as evidenced by the reliable generation of mature astrocytes that display typical properties as glutamate up-take and expression of aquaporin-4. The hNSC-derived astrocytes showed high activity of pyruvate carboxylase as assessed by stable isotope assisted metabolic profiling. Moreover, using a cell transplantation approach, we showed that grafted hNSCs were not only able to survive but also to differentiate into astroglial in vivo. Engraftments of pluripotent stem cells derived from somatic cells carry an inherent tumor formation potential. Our results demonstrate that hNSCs with self-renewing and differentiation potential may provide a safer alternative strategy, with promising applications especially for neurodegenerative disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16321
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


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