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Keywords:

  • neural progenitors;
  • neural stem cells;
  • neural transplantation;
  • neuronal differentiation

Abstract

Neural precursor cells derived from the developing human brain were expanded in vitro under the influence of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) and epidermal growth hormone (EGF), and were then transplanted into different regions of the neonatal rat brain. Four weeks later neurons were seen to have developed from human embryonic precursors, using a human-specific antibody to tau (htau). There were morphological differences between implanted neurons developing in the hippocampus, striatum and neocortex, which were confirmed by cell volume measurements, although no specific neurochemical phenotypes were identified. Htau-positive fibres were seen to project extensively along fibre pathways appropriate for the site of neuronal integration. This study demonstrates that, following cell division in vitro, neurons differentiating from human precursor cell populations retain the ability to respond appropriately to regional determinants present in the neonatal rat brain. This is important for the application of such cells in CNS repair strategies, in particular neural transplantation.