Cellular and Molecular Biology



In vitro and in vivo characterization of neural stem cells

E. Bazán1, F.J.M. Alonso1, C. Redondo1, M.A. López-Toledano1,4, J.M. Alfaro2, D. Reimers1, A.S. Herranz1, C.L. Paíno1, A.B. Serrano1, N. Cobacho1, E. Caso2 and M-V.T. Lobo1,2

1Departamento de Investigación, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, 2Departamento de Biología Celular y Genética, Universidad de Alcalá, Madrid, 3Fundación de Investigación del Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Vigo (Fundación ICHUVI), Vigo, Spain and 4Department of Pathology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, Columbia University, New York

Offprint requests to: Eulalia Bazán, PhD, Servicio de Neurobiología, Departamento de Investigación, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Ctra. de Colmenar Km 9, 28034 Madrid, Spain. e-mail: eulalia.bazan@hrc.es

Summary. Neural stem cells are defined as clonogenic cells with self-renewal capacity and the ability to generate all neural lineages (multipotentiality). Cells with these characteristics have been isolated from the embryonic and adult central nervous system. Under specific conditions, these cells can differentiate into neurons, glia, and non-neural cell types, or proliferate in long-term cultures as cell clusters termed “neurospheres”. These cultures represent a useful model for neurodevelopmental studies and a potential cell source for cell replacement therapy. Because no specific markers are available to unequivocally identify neural stem cells, their functional characteristics (self-renewal and multipotentiality) provide the main features for their identification. Here, we review the experimental and ultrastructural studies aimed at identifying the morphological characteristics and the antigenic markers of neural stem cells for their in vitro and in vivo identification. Histol Histopathol 19, 1261-1275 (2004)

Key words: Neural stem cells, Progenitor cells, Neurospheres, Cell markers, Ultrastructure

DOI: 10.14670/HH-19.1261