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Improving the survival of human CNS precursor-derived neurons after transplantation



We have examined the effects of predifferentiation and energy substrate deprivation on long-term expanded human neural precursor cells (HNPCs). The pre-differentiation of HNPC cultures produced large numbers of neurons (>60%) and mature glial cells capable of generating glycogen stores that protected the neuronal population from experimental metabolic stress. When predifferentiated HNPCs were transplanted into intact adult rat hippocampus, fewer cells survived compared to undifferentiated HNPC transplants. This cell death was completely attenuated, however, when predifferentiated HNPC cultures were pretreated to boost glial energy stores and resulted in greatly increased neuronal survival in vivo. The transplanted cells primarily engrafted within the granular layer of the dentate gyrus, where a large proportion of the predifferentiated HNPCs co-expressed neuronal markers whereas most HNPCs outside of the neuronal layer did not, indicating that the predifferentiated cells remained capable of responding to local cues in the adult brain. Undifferentiated HNPCs migrated more widely in the brain after grafting than did the predifferentiated cells, which generally remained within the hippocampus. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.