Migration and differentiation of neural precursors derived from human embryonic stem cells in the rat brain
Stem Cell Transplantation
Human embryonic stem (hES) cells provide a potentially unlimited cell source for regenerative medicine. Recently, differentiation strategies were developed to direct hES cells towards neural fates in vitro. However, the interaction of hES cell progeny with the adult brain environment remains unexplored. Here we report that hES cell-derived neural precursors differentiate into neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in the normal and lesioned brain of young adult rats and migrate extensively along white matter tracts. The differentiation and migration behavior of hES cell progeny was region specific. The hES cell-derived neural precursors integrated into the endogenous precursor pool in the subventricular zone, a site of persistent neurogenesis. Like adult neural stem cells, hES cell-derived precursors traveled along the rostral migratory stream to the olfactory bulb, where they contributed to neurogenesis. We found no evidence of cell fusion, suggesting that hES cell progeny are capable of responding appropriately to host cues in the subventricular zone.