Stem Cell


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0 Q&A 488 Views Oct 5, 2023

Adult neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) in two neurogenic areas of the brain, the dentate gyrus and the subventricular zone, are major players in adult neurogenesis. Addressing specific questions regarding NSPCs outside of their niche entails in vitro studies through isolation and culture of these cells. As there is heterogeneity in their morphology, proliferation, and differentiation capacity between these two neurogenic areas, NSPCs should be isolated from each area through specific procedures and media. Identifying region-specific NPSCs provides an accurate pathway for assessing the effects of extrinsic factors and drugs on these cells and investigating the mechanisms of neurogenesis in both healthy and pathologic conditions. A great number of isolation and expansion techniques for NSPCs have been reported. The growth and expansion of NSPCs obtained from the dentate gyrus of aged rats are generally difficult. There are relatively limited data and protocols about NSPCs isolation and their culture from aged rats. Our approach is an efficient and reliable strategy to isolate and expand NSPCs obtained from young adult and aged rats. NSPCs isolated by this method maintain their self-renewal and multipotency.


Key features

• NSPCs isolated from the hippocampal dentate gyrus of young adult and aged rats, based on Kempermann et al. (2014) and Aligholi et al. (2014).

• Maintenance of NSPCs isolated from the dentate gyrus of aged rats (20–24 months) in our culture condition is feasible.

• According to our protocol, maximum growth of primary neurospheres obtained from isolated NSPCs of young and aged rats took 15 and 35 days, respectively.


Graphical overview



Isolation and expansion of neural stem/progenitor cells

1 Q&A 1751 Views Apr 5, 2022

Craniofacial anomalies (CFA) are a diverse group of deformities, which affect the growth of the head and face. Dysregulation of cranial neural crest cell (NCC) migration, proliferation, differentiation, and/or cell fate specification have been reported to contribute to CFA. Understanding of the mechanisms through which cranial NCCs contribute for craniofacial development may lead to identifying meaningful clinical targets for the prevention and treatment of CFA. Isolation and culture of cranial NCCs in vitro facilitates screening and analyses of molecular cellular mechanisms of cranial NCCs implicated in craniofacial development. Here, we present a method for the isolation and culture of cranial NCCs harvested from the first branchial arch at early embryonic stages. Morphology of isolated cranial NCCs was similar to O9-1 cells, a cell line for neural crest stem cells. Moreover, cranial NCCs isolated from a transgenic mouse line with enhanced bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling in NCCs showed an increase in their chondrogenic differentiation capacity, suggesting maintenance of their in vivo differentiation potentials observed in vitro. Taken together, our established method is useful to visualize cellular behaviors of cranial NCCs.

0 Q&A 3539 Views May 20, 2021

The size of the neocortex and its morphology are highly divergent across mammalian species. Several approaches have been utilized for the analysis of neocortical development and comparison among different species. In the present protocol (Note: This protocol requires basic knowledge of brain anatomy), we describe three ex vivo neocortical slice/tissue culture methods: (i) organotypic slice culture (mouse, ferret, human); (ii) hemisphere rotation culture (mouse, ferret); and (iii) free-floating tissue culture (mouse, ferret, human). Each of these three culture methods offers distinct features with regard to the analyses to be performed and can be combined with genetic manipulation by electroporation and treatment with specific inhibitors. These three culture methods are therefore powerful techniques to examine the function of genes involved in neocortical development.

0 Q&A 9311 Views Sep 5, 2018
Glioma stem cells (GSC) grown as neurospheres exhibit similar characteristics to neural stem cells (NSC) grown as neurospheres, including the ability to self-renew and differentiate. GSCs are thought to play a role in cancer initiation and progression. Self-renewal potential of GSCs is thought to reflect many characteristics associated with malignancy, including tumor recurrence following cytotoxic therapy due to their proliferative dormancy and capacity to allow for the development of resistant tumor cell sub-clones due to mutations acquired during their differentiation. Here, we demonstrate that using extreme limiting dilution analysis (ELDA), subtle differences in the frequency of sphere-forming potential between PI3K-mutant oncogenic NSCs and non-oncogenic NSCs can be measured, in vitro. We further show how ELDA can be used on cells, before and after forced differentiation to amplify inherent differences in sphere-forming potential between mutant and control NSCs. Ultimately, ELDA exploits a difference in the ability of a single or a few seeded stem cells to self-renew, divide and form neurospheres. Importantly, the assay also allows a comparison between genetically distinct cells or between the same cells under different conditions, where the impact of target-specific drugs or other novel cancer stem cell therapies can be tested.
0 Q&A 18514 Views Nov 5, 2017
There are two neurogenic niches in the adult mammalian brain: the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricle and the subgranular zone of the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Cells from these areas can be isolated and maintained in vitro, using two different culture systems to assess their potential regarding proliferation and differentiation in a reductionist model. While the neurosphere assay is primarily performed to directly study the proliferative and differentiation potential of cells in individual brains, the monolayer culture allows single cell analysis in a rather homogeneous cell population. Here, we describe the isolation, culturing methods and differentiation of neural precursor cells in both systems.
0 Q&A 8988 Views May 5, 2017
The subventricular zone (SVZ) in the mammalian forebrain contains stem/progenitor cells that migrate through the rostral migratory stream (RMS) to the olfactory bulb throughout adulthood. SVZ-derived explant cultures provide a convenient method to assess factors regulating the intermediary stage of neural stem/progenitor cell migration. Here, we describe the isolation of SVZ-derived RMS explants from the neonatal mouse brain, and the conditions required to culture and evaluate their migration.
0 Q&A 8443 Views Apr 5, 2017
In glaucoma, the output neurons of the retina, the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), progressively degenerate, leading to irreversible blindness (Ahram et al., 2015). The ex vivo stem cell method to replace degenerated RGCs remains a potentially viable approach (Levin et al., 2004). However, the success of the approach depends upon the ability of the de novo generated RGCs to connect over the long distance with specific targets in the central visual pathway. Here, we describe a protocol to examine the target specificity of the de novo generated RGCs using a co-culture approach where the RGCs neurites are allowed to choose between specific (superior colliculus; SC) and non-specific (inferior colliculus; IC) tectal targets.
0 Q&A 12766 Views Aug 5, 2016
The hippocampal niche is one of two areas in the brain where stem cells reside. In this neurogenic niche, stem cells can be found in close proximity to astrocytes and in contact with microvessels consisting of pericytes and endothelial cells. To study the regulatory interplay of this complex niche network in a simplified in vitro model, we established a co-culture system. We investigate the formation of neurosphere under different co-culture conditions by using primary niche cells. Here, we describe the isolation procedure for primary niche cells culture of astrocytes, endothelial cells and pericytes/smooth muscle cells from mouse brain. These niche cells are co-cultured (by hanging inserts) with freshly isolated stem and precursor cells from the adult hippocampus to study the influence of soluble factors. This method is used to investigate factors and cell types regulating stem cell behavior in a niche-like environment.
0 Q&A 10875 Views Mar 20, 2014
Prion diseases are transmissible, fatal, neurodegenerative diseases in human and animals. The molecular basis of neurodegeneration in prion diseases is largely unclear. Developing a cellular model capable of monitoring prion-induced cytotoxicity would be a promising approach for better understanding the prion pathogenesis. One candidate cellular assay is a model based on neurospheres, which contains neural stem cells (NSCs). Both undifferentiated and differentiated NSCs have been demonstrated to be permissive to prion infection, and prion-induced cytopathic changes in differentiated neruosphere cultures were reported (Iwamaru et al., 2013). This protocol describes the procedure to induce differentiation of NSCs from transgenic mice overexpressing prion protein (tga20 mice) into cultures susceptible for prion infection.
0 Q&A 21545 Views Mar 20, 2014
Neurosphere contains neural stem cells that are capable of self-renewal and multilineage differentiation including neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes (Gage, 2000). Cell culture model using differentiated neurosphere cultures are suggested to be a valuable tool for studying the pathogenesis of prion disease at the cellular level (Iwamaru et al., 2013). This protocol describes the procedure for a culture of whole brain-derived neurospheres from newborn mouse brains. Neurosphere formation steadily occurs within a week from the cultures of neonatal whole brains and these cells have stem cell properties.



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