• CREB;
  • stem cells;
  • RA;
  • neural progenitor cells;
  • differentiation


Mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells can be induced by various chemicals to differentiate into a variety of cell types in vitro. In our study, retinoic acid (RA), one of the most important inducers, used at a concentration of 5 μM, was found to induce the differentiation of ES cells into neural progenitor cells (NPCs). During embryoid body (EB) differentiation, the level of active cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (CREB) was relatively high when 5 μM RA treatment was performed. Inhibition of CREB activity committed EBs to becoming other germ layers, whereas increased expression of CREB enhanced NPC differentiation. Moreover, RA increased the expression of active CREB by enhancing the activity of JNK. Our research suggests that CREB plays a role in RA-induced NPC differentiation by increasing the expression of active JNK. Anat Rec, 291:519–526, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.