UNIT 3.18 Fluorescence-Based Sorting of Neural Stem Cells and Progenitors

  1. Dragan Maric,
  2. Jeffery L. Barker

Published Online: 1 NOV 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0318s33

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

How to Cite

Maric, D. and Barker, J. L. 2005. Fluorescence-Based Sorting of Neural Stem Cells and Progenitors. Current Protocols in Neuroscience. 33:3.18:3.18.1–3.18.30.

Author Information

  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 NOV 2005
  2. Published Print: OCT 2005


Neural stem cells (NSCs) are defined as undifferentiated cells originating from the neuroectoderm that have the capacity both to perpetually self-renew without differentiating and to generate multiple types of lineage-restricted progenitors (LRPs). LRPs can themselves undergo limited self-renewal and ultimately differentiate into highly specialized cells that make up the nervous system. However, this physiologically delimited definition of NSCs and LRPs has become increasingly blurred due to lack of protocols for effectively separating these types of cells from primary tissues. This unit discusses recent attempts using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) strategies to prospectively isolate NSCs from different types of LRPs as they appear in vivo, and details a protocol that optimally attains this goal. Thus, the strategy presented here provides a framework for more precise studies of NSC and LRP cell biology in the future, which can be applied to all vertebrates, including humans.


  • central nervous system;
  • development;
  • cortex;
  • neural stem cells;
  • lineage-restricted progenitors;
  • fluorescence-activated cell sorting;
  • cell fate