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The co-transduction of Nurr1 and Brn4 genes induces the differentiation of neural stem cells into dopaminergic neurons

Authors

  • Xue-Feng Tan,

    1. Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuroregeneration, Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu Province 226001, Peoples Republic of China
    2. School of Biological and Basic Medical Science, Soochow University, Suzhou, Peoples Republic of China
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  • Guo-Hua Jin,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuroregeneration, Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu Province 226001, Peoples Republic of China
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  • Mei-Ling Tian,

    1. Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuroregeneration, Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu Province 226001, Peoples Republic of China
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  • Jian-Bing Qin,

    1. Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuroregeneration, Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu Province 226001, Peoples Republic of China
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  • Lei Zhang,

    1. Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuroregeneration, Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu Province 226001, Peoples Republic of China
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  • Hui-Xia Zhu,

    1. Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuroregeneration, Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu Province 226001, Peoples Republic of China
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  • Hao-Ming Li

    1. Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, The Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuroregeneration, Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu Province 226001, Peoples Republic of China
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To whom correspondence should be addressed (email jguohua@ntu.edu.cn).

Abstract

Fetal brain tissue can be used in cell replacement therapy for PD (Parkinson's disease), but there is a poor donor supply of this tissue. NSCs (neural stem cells) may overcome this problem as they can be isolated and expanded in vitro. However, the usage of NSCs is limited because the differentiation of NSCs into specific dopaminergic neurons has proven difficult. In the present study, we investigated the effect of Nurr1 (nuclear receptor related factor 1), a transcription factor specific for the development and maintenance of the midbrain dopaminergic neurons on inducing the differentiation of NSCs into TH (tyrosine hydroxylase) immunoreactive dopaminergic neurons. Nonetheless, these cells exhibited an immature neuronal morphology with small cell bodies and short neurite processes, and they seldom expressed DAT (dopamine transporter), a late marker of mature dopaminergic neurons. However, forced co-expression of Nurr1 with Brn4, a member of the POU domain family of transcription factors, caused immature Nurr1-induced dopaminergic neurons to differentiate into morphologically and phenotypically more mature neurons. Thus the enriched generation of mature dopaminergic neurons by forced expression of Nurr1 with Brn4 may be of future importance in NSC-based cell replacement therapy for PD.

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