Human astrocytes can be induced to differentiate into cells with neuronal phenotype

Rita Pillai, Franca Scintu, Laura Scorciapino, Mario Carta, Luca Murru, Giovanni Biggio, Stefano Cabras, Camilla Reali, Valeria Sogos
Experimental Cell Research. 2006-07-01; 312(12): 2336-2346
DOI: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2006.03.031

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1. Exp Cell Res. 2006 Jul 15;312(12):2336-46. Epub 2006 Apr 19.

Human astrocytes can be induced to differentiate into cells with neuronal

Pillai R(1), Scintu F, Scorciapino L, Carta M, Murru L, Biggio G, Cabras S, Reali
C, Sogos V.

Author information:
(1)Department of Cytomorphology, University of Cagliari, Cittadella
Universitaria, 09042 Monserrato (CA), Italy.

Several recent studies have proposed that astrocytes may contribute to
neurogenesis, not only as a source of trophic substances regulating it, but also
as stem cells themselves. In order to better understand these mechanisms, primary
astrocyte cultures were established from human fetal brain. After 3-4 weeks in
culture, astrocytes (about 95% GFAP+; neurofilament, NF-; neuro-specific enolase,
NSE-) were treated with a cocktail of protein kinase activators and FGF-1. After
5 h of treatment, most cells showed morphological changes that increased
progressively up to 24-48 h, exhibiting a round cell body with long processes.
Immunocytochemistry showed that treatment-induced NF and NSE expression in about
40% of cells. Nestin expression increased after treatment, whereas GFAP
immunostaining was not significantly modified. Western blot and RT-PCR confirmed
the results. No neuronal electrophysiological properties were observed after
treatment, suggesting an incomplete maturation under these experimental
conditions. Understanding the regenerative capability and neurogenic potential of
astrocytes might be useful in devising therapeutic approaches for a variety of
neurological disorders.

DOI: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2006.03.031
PMID: 16716298 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus