Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 351–358 | Cite as

Transplantation of Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neural Precursors into Early-Stage Zebrafish Embryos

  • J. StrnadelEmail author
  • H. Wang
  • C. Carromeu
  • A. Miyanohara
  • K. Fujimura
  • E. Blahovcova
  • V. Nosal
  • H. Skovierova
  • R. Klemke
  • E. Halasova


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) generated from somatic cells through reprogramming hold great promises for regenerative medicine. However, how reprogrammed cells survive, behave in vivo, and interact with host cells after transplantation still remains to be addressed. There is a significant need for animal models that allow in vivo tracking of transplanted cells in real time. In this regard, the zebrafish, a tropical freshwater fish, provides significant advantage as it is optically transparent and can be imaged in high resolution using confocal microscopy. The principal goal of this study was to optimize the protocol for successful short-term and immunosuppression-free transplantation of human iPS cell-derived neural progenitor cells into zebrafish and to test their ability to differentiate in this animal model. To address this aim, we isolated human iPS cell-derived neural progenitor cells from human fibroblasts and grafted them into (a) early (blastocyst)-stage wild-type AB zebrafish embryos or (b) 3-day-old Tg(gfap:GFP) zebrafish embryos (intracranial injection). We found that transplanted human neuronal progenitor cells can be effectively grafted and that they differentiate and survive in zebrafish for more than 2 weeks, validating the model as an ideal platform for in vivo screening experiments. We conclude that zebrafish provides an excellent model for studying iPS cell-derived cells in vivo.


Zebrafish Human iPS cells iPS cell-derived neural precursors Cell grafting 



The authors want to thank Professor Martin Marsala and Silvia Marsala, MVD, from Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, San Diego, CA, USA, for their support and for providing FACS sorting antibodies.

Funding Information

This study was supported by research grant no. CA184596 (to RK); NIH-NHLBI, 5PO1HL066941 (to AM); and by the project “Biomedical Center Martin” ITMS code, 26220220187, and project ITMS, 26220220021, supported by the Operational Programme Research and Innovation funded by the ERDF.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of CaliforniaLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of CaliforniaLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of CaliforniaLa JollaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Molecular Medicine, Biomedical Center Martin, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine in MartinComenius University in BratislavaBratislavaSlovakia

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