• Fluorescence-activated cell sorting;
  • Neurosphere;
  • Prominin;
  • Laminin;
  • Extracellular matrix


The identification of markers for the isolation of human neural stem cells (hNSCs) is essential for studies of their biology and therapeutic applications. This study investigated expression of the integrin receptor family by hNSCs as potential markers. Selection of α6hi or β1hi cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting led to an enrichment of human neural precursors, as shown by both neurosphere forming assays and increased expression of prominin-1, sox2, sox3, nestin, bmi1, and musashi1 in the β1hi population. Cells expressing high levels of β1 integrin also expressed prominin-1 (CD133), a marker previously used to isolate hNSCs, and selection using integrin β1hi cells or prominin-1hi cells was found to be equally effective at enriching for hNSCs from neurospheres. Therefore, integrin subunits α6 and β1 are highly expressed by human neural precursors and represent convenient markers for their prospective isolation.