Neural Stem Cells

Volume 438 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology™ pp 19-30

Neural Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells

  • Mirella DottoriAffiliated withMonash Institute of Medical Research and the Australian Stem Cell CentreCentre for Neuroscience and Department of Pharmacology, The University of Melbourne
  • , Martin F. PeraAffiliated withCenter for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

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Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are pluripotent and capable of indefinite self-renewal in vitro. These features make them a highly advantageous source for deriving any cell type of the central and peripheral nervous system. We describe neural induction of human (h)ESCs, by using the bone morphogenic protein inhibitor protein noggin. Neural progenitors derived from noggin-treated hESCs can be propagated as neurospheres and further differentiated in vitro and in vivo to mature neurons and glia. This complete protocol of neural differentiation, from hESCs to mature neuronal cells, can be used as an in vitro model to study human neurogenesis and neurodegeneration.

Key Words

Neural differentiation embryonic stem cell human neurosphere noggin neural progenitor