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Functional neural differentiation of human adipose tissue-derived stem cells using bFGF and forskolin

Sujeong Jang134, Hyong-Ho Cho24, Yong-Bum Cho24*, Jong-Seong Park134 and Han-Seong Jeong134*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju 501190, Republic of Korea

2 Department of Otolaryngology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju 501190, Republic of Korea

3 Brain Korea 21 Project, Center for Biomedical Human Resources at Chonnam National University, Gwangju, 501-190, Republic of Korea

4 Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 501-190, Republic of Korea

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BMC Cell Biology 2010, 11:25  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-11-25

Published: 16 April 2010



Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from adipose tissue have the capacity to differentiate into mesenchymal as well as endodermal and ectodermal cell lineage in vitro. We characterized the multipotent ability of human adipose tissue-derived stem cells (hADSCs) as MSCs and investigated the neural differentiation potential of these cells.


Human ADSCs from earlobe fat maintained self-renewing capacity and differentiated into adipocytes, osteoblasts, or chondrocytes under specific culture conditions. Following neural induction with bFGF and forskolin, hADSCs were differentiated into various types of neural cells including neurons and glia in vitro. In neural differentiated-hADSCs (NI-hADSCs), the immunoreactivities for neural stem cell marker (nestin), neuronal markers (Tuj1, MAP2, NFL, NFM, NFH, NSE, and NeuN), astrocyte marker (GFAP), and oligodendrocyte marker (CNPase) were significantly increased than in the primary hADSCs. RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that the mRNA levels encoding for ABCG2, nestin, Tuj1, MAP2, NFL, NFM, NSE, GAP43, SNAP25, GFAP, and CNPase were also highly increased in NI-hADSCs. Moreover, NI-hADSCs acquired neuron-like functions characterized by the display of voltage-dependent tetrodotoxin (TTX)-sensitive sodium currents, outward potassium currents, and prominent negative resting membrane potentials under whole-cell patch clamp recordings. Further examination by RT-PCR showed that NI-hADSCs expressed high level of ionic channel genes for sodium (SCN5A), potassium (MaxiK, Kv4.2, and EAG2), and calcium channels (CACNA1C and CACNA1G), which were expressed constitutively in the primary hADSCs. In addition, we demonstrated that Kv4.3 and Eag1, potassium channel genes, and NE-Na, a TTX-sensitive sodium channel gene, were highly induced following neural differentiation.


These combined results indicate that hADSCs have the same self-renewing capacity and multipotency as stem cells, and can be differentiated into functional neurons using bFGF and forskolin.