• adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AMSCs);
  • cortex and hippocampus- conditioned medium;
  • neuronal differentiation


To simulate brain microenvironment, adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AMSC) were induced to differentiate to neuronal-like cells in rat cortex and hippocampus medium (Cox + Hip). First, isolated AMSC were characterized by flow cytometer and the capacity of adipogenesis and osteogenesis. After induction in rat cortex and hippocampus conditioned medium, the cell morphological change was examined and neural marker proteins (β-Ш-Tubulin, NSE, Nissl body) expression was detected by immunofluorescence staining. A variety of synaptic marker proteins, including GAP43, SHANK2, SHANK3 and Bassoon body, were detected. ELISA was used to measure brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) secretion at different time-points. AMSCs positively expressed CD13, CD44 and CD90 and could differentiate into osteoblasts or adipocytes. After induction in Cox + Hip medium for 14 days, cells had a typical neuronal perikaryal appearance, which was suggestive of neuronal differentiation. After 14 days of Cox + Hip treatment, the percentage of cells expressing β-Ⅲ-Tubulin, NSE and Nissl was 53.9 ± 0.8%, 51.3 ± 1.7% and 16.4 ± 2.1%, respectively. Expression of GAP43, SHANK2, SHANK3 and Bassoon body was detected, indicating synapse formation after treatment in Cox + Hip medium. Differentiated AMSCs secreted neurotrophic factors NGF and BDNF. Thus rat cortex and hippocampus-derived soluble factors can induce AMSCs to a neuronal-like phenotype, suggesting that AMSCs have a dual role in supplementing newborn neurons and secreting neurotrophic factors, and therefore could be help as a potential treatment for nervous system diseases.