Tufts University researchers have discovered a new technique for generating rapidly-differentiating human neural stem cells for use in a variety of tissue engineering applications, including a three-dimensional model of the human brain, according to a paper published today in Stem Cell Reports. The work could pave the way for experiments that engineer other innervated tissues, such as the skin and cornea, and for the development of human brain models with diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
Researchers converted human fibroblasts and adipose-derived stem cells into stable, human induced neural stem cell (hiNSC) lines that acquire the features of active neurons within as few as four days, compared to the typical four weeks, according to the paper. The neural stem cells are hardy, can be frozen, passaged indefinitely, and have unique attributes that allow them to grow well in vitro with other cell types, such as skeletal muscle. When injected into an early stage chicken embryo, the hiNSCs incorporated into the brain as well as the neurons of the peripheral nervous system that innervate tissues in a developing limb.
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