Differentiation and Transplantation of Neural Lineage Cells from ES and iPS Cells
Human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem (ES and iPS) cells have an unlimited capacity to self-renew in vitro and they are also able to differentiate into any somatic cell type. These cells offer a platform technology that has the potential to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that determine adult cell fate, generate cellular models for discovery of new drugs, and create populations of differentiated cells for novel transplantation therapies. Differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into cells of the neural lineage, therefore, has become a central focus of our laboratories. We generated neural progenitors and divergent neural cells as ventral motoneurons and oligodendroglial progenitors by application of morphogens, co-culture, growth factors and small molecules. Here, I describe our experiences on neural induction, neural maintenance and expansion, neuronal/oligodendrocyte differentiation of ES and iPS cells. Furthermore, the potential applications of differentiated neural cells and their transplantation in animal models of spinal cord injury, Alzheimer, and MS will be explained.