“Many neurological injuries are likely too extensive for the limited repair capacity of endogenous neural stem cells (NSCs). An alternative is to isolate NSCs from a donor, and expand them in vitro as transplantation material. Numerous groups have already transplanted neural stem and precursor cells. A caveat to this approach is the undefined phenotypic distribution of the donor cells, which has three principle drawbacks: (1) Stem-like cells retain the capacity to proliferate in vivo. (2) There is little control over the cells’ terminal differentiation, e.g., a graft intended to replace neurons might choose a predominantly glial fate. (3) There is limited ability of researchers to alter the combination of cell types in pursuit of a precise treatment. We demonstrate a procedure for differentiating human neural precursor cells (hNPCs) in vitro, followed by isolation of the neuronal progeny. We transplanted undifferentiated hNPCs or a defined concentration of hNPC-derived neurons into mice, then compared these two groups with regard to their survival, proliferation and phenotypic fate. We present evidence suggesting that in vitro-differentiated-and-purified neurons survive as well in vivo as their undifferentiated progenitors, and undergo less proliferation and less astrocytic differentiation. We also describe techniques for optimizing low-temperature cell preservation and portability.”
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