Tamagawa, T., Ishiwata, I., Ishikawa, H. et al. Hum Cell (2008) 21: 38. doi:10.1111/j.1749-0774.2008.00049.x
There is growing evidence that the human amnion contains various types of stem cell. As amniotic tissue is readily available, it has the potential to be an important source of material for regenerative medicine. In this study, we evaluated the potential of human amnion-derived fibroblast-like (HADFIL) cells to differentiate into neural cells. Two HADFIL cell populations, derived from two different neonates, were analyzed. The expression of neural cell-specific genes was examined before and after in vitro induction of cellular differentiation. We found that neuron specific enolase, neurofilament-medium, β-tubulin isotype III, and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) showed significantly increased expression following the induction of differentiation. In addition, immunostaining demonstrated that neuron specific enolase, GFAP and myelin basic protein (MBP) were present in HADFIL cells following the induction of differentiation, although one of the HADFIL cell populations showed a lower expression of GFAP and MBP. These results indicate that HADFIL cell populations have the potential to differentiate into neural cells. Although further studies are necessary to determine whether such in vitro-differentiated cells can function in vivo as neural cells, these amniotic cell populations might be of value in therapeutic applications that require human neural cells.