Identifying Neural Progenitor Cells in the Adult Human Brain

  • Thomas I. H. Park
  • Henry J. Waldvogel
  • Johanna M. Montgomery
  • Edward W. Mee
  • Peter S. Bergin
  • Richard L. M. Faull
  • Mike Dragunow
  • Maurice A. Curtis
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1059)


The discovery, in 1998, that the adult human brain contains at least two populations of progenitor cells and that progenitor cells are upregulated in response to a range of degenerative brain diseases has raised hopes for their use in replacing dying brain cells. Since these early findings the race has been on to understand the biology of progenitor cells in the human brain and they have now been isolated and studied in many major neurodegenerative diseases. Before these cells can be exploited for cell replacement purposes it is important to understand how to: (1) find them, (2) label them, (3) determine what receptors they express, (4) isolate them, and (5) examine their electrophysiological properties when differentiated. In this chapter we have described the methods we use for studying progenitor cells in the adult human brain and in particular the tissue processing, immunohistochemistry, autoradiography, progenitor cell culture, and electrophysiology on brain cells. The Neurological Foundation of New Zealand Human Brain Bank has been receiving human tissue for approximately 20 years during which time we have developed a number of unique ways to examine and isolate progenitor cells from resected surgical specimens as well as from postmortem brain tissue. There are ethical and technical considerations that are unique to working with human brain tissue and these, as well as the processing of this tissue and the culturing of it for the purpose of studying progenitor cells, are the topic of this chapter.

Key words

Human brain Neural progenitor cell Neurosphere Brain bank 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas I. H. Park
    • 1
  • Henry J. Waldvogel
    • 2
  • Johanna M. Montgomery
    • 3
  • Edward W. Mee
    • 4
    • 5
  • Peter S. Bergin
    • 4
    • 6
  • Richard L. M. Faull
    • 2
  • Mike Dragunow
    • 1
  • Maurice A. Curtis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Centre for Brain ResearchThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy with Radiology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Centre for Brain ResearchThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Centre for Brain ResearchThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  4. 4.Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Centre for Brain ResearchThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  5. 5.Department of NeurosurgeryAuckland City HospitalAucklandNew Zealand
  6. 6.Department of NeurologyAuckland City HospitalAucklandNew Zealand

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