The role of connexins in the differentiation of NT2 cells in Sertoli-NT2 cell tissue constructs grown in the rotating wall bioreactor
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- Shamekh, R., Cameron, D., Willing, A. et al. Exp Brain Res (2006) 170: 277. doi:10.1007/s00221-005-0212-x
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Neural transplantation is developing as a successful treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. The human Ntera-2/D1 (NT2) cell line is an attractive alternative to the use of human fetal neurons as a cell source for transplantation. We have explored combining NT2 cells, as a neuronal source, and Sertoli cells, which may act as a graft facilitator to enhance neuronal survival and differentiation, and ameliorate the host immune response, into a tissue construct for use in cell replacement therapy for neurodegenerative disease. This Sertoli-NT2-aggregated cell (SNAC) tissue construct is formed in the high aspect ratio vessel (HARV) bioreactor. NT2 cells differentiate to dopaminergic NT2N neurons within the SNAC tissue construct without retinoic acid. We report here that the gap junction protein connexin 43 is decreased among differentiated NT2N neurons. Inhibition of connexin 43 with 18β glycyrrhetinic acid and carbenoxolone, a glycyrrhetinic acid derivative, during formation of the SNAC tissue constructs disrupts the differentiation of NT2 cells. Therefore, connexin 43 is important in the differentiation of NT2 cells in the SNAC tissue construct.