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Aguilera-Castrejon, Alejandro; Pasantes-Morales, Herminia; Jose Montesinos, Juan; Cortes-Medina, Lorena V; Castro-Manrreza, Marta E; Mayani, Hector; Ramos-Mandujano, Gerardo (2017)

IMPROVED PROLIFERATIVE CAPACITY OF NP-LIKE CELLS DERIVED FROM HUMAN MESENCHYMAL STROMAL CELLS AND NEURONAL TRANSDIFFERENTIATION BY SMALL MOLECULES

Neurochem. Res. 42(2):415-427
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Neural progenitors (NP), found in fetal and adult brain, differentiate into neurons potentially able to be used in cell replacement therapies. This approach however, raises technical and ethical problems which limit their potential therapeutic use. Alternately, NPs can be obtained by transdifferentiation of non-neural somatic cells evading these difficulties. Human bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are suggested to transdifferentiate into NP-like cells, which however, have a low proliferation capacity. The present study demonstrates the requisite of cell adhesion for proliferation and survival of NP-like cells and re-evaluates some neuronal features after differentiation by standard procedures. Mature neuronal markers, though, were not detected by these procedures. A chemical differentiation approach was used in this study to convert MSCs-derived NP-like cells into neurons by using a cocktail of six molecules, CHIR99021, I-BET151, RepSox, DbcAMP, forskolin and Y-27632, defined after screening combinations of 22 small molecules. Direct transdifferentiation of MSCs into neuronal cells was obtained with the small molecule cocktail, without requiring the NP-like intermediate stage.