Here we describe the in vitro derivation of sensory neurons for use in effecting fate commitment of Schwann cell-like cells derived from human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSCs). We adopt a novel combination of small molecules in an 8-day program that induces the differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells into sensory neurons. In co-cultures, the derived sensory neurons present contact-dependent cues to direct hBMSC-derived Schwann cell-like cells toward the Schwann cell fate. These derived human Schwann cells survive passaging and cryopreservation, retain marker expression despite withdrawal of glia-inducing medium and neuronal cues, demonstrate capacity for myelination, and therefore promise application in autologous transplantation and re-myelination therapy.
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This work was supported in part by the HKRGC-General Research Fund 777810, NSFC/RGC-Joint Research Scheme N_HKU741/11, Innovation and Technology Fund (100/10), SK Yee Medical Research Fund, National Natural Science Foundation of China (81000011, 81272080), and the Strategic Research Theme on Neuroscience of The University of Hong Kong.
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