Neurite outgrowth from progeny of epidermal growth factor-responsive hippocampal stem cells is significantly less robust than from fetal hippocampal cells following grafting onto organotypic hippocampal slice cultures: effect of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
Epidermal growth factor (EGF)-responsive stem cells from both developing and adult central nervous system (CNS) can be expanded and induced to differentiate into neurons and glia in vitro. Because of their self-renewal and multipotent properties, these cells can potentially provide an unlimited tissue source for neural grafting in neurodegenerative disorders. However, the capability of neurons derived from these stem cells to project axons to distant targets following grafting, thereby enabling the restoration of damaged CNS circuitry, remains unknown. We hypothesize that grafted EGF-responsive stem cells and their progeny are not competent to project axons into distant target sites unless exposed to specific neurotrophic factors. We compared neurite outgrowth between gestation day 14 primary mouse hippocampal cells and EGF-generated secondary neurospheres of postnatal mouse hippocampal stem cells, following grafting onto the CA3 region of organotypic hippocampal slice cultures prepared from postnatal rats. Neurite outgrowth from grafted cells was visualized using immunohistochemical staining for the mouse specific antigen M6. Fetal hippocampal cells showed extensive and specific neurite outgrowth into many regions of the slice, including the CA1 region and distant subiculum, by 7 days after grafting. In contrast, neurite outgrowth from neurosphere cells was nonspecific and restricted to the immediate surrounding region after either 7 or even 15 days following grafting. Application of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (5 ng in 0.5 microL) to slices on day 1 after grafting significantly enhanced neurite outgrowth from neurosphere cells, but overall neurite outgrowth from neurosphere cells remained decreased compared to that from fetal hippocampal cells. These results underscore that EGF-responsive stem cell-derived neurons possess limited intrinsic capability for long-distance neurite outgrowth compared to fetal neurons. However, neurite outgrowth from EGF-responsive stem cell-derived neurons can be enhanced by treating with specific neurotrophic factors such as BDNF.
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