Research Papers:

Human pluripotent stem cell (PSC)-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) show potent neurogenic capacity which is enhanced with cytoskeletal rearrangement

Kai-Yen Peng, Yu-Wei Lee, Pei-Ju Hsu, Hsiu-Huan Wang, Yun Wang, Jun-Yang Liou, Shan-Hui Hsu, Kenneth K. Wu and B. Linju Yen _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:43949-43959. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9947

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Kai-Yen Peng1,2, Yu-Wei Lee2, Pei-Ju Hsu2, Hsiu-Huan Wang2, Yun Wang3, Jun-Yang Liou2, Shan-Hui Hsu4, Kenneth K. Wu5, B. Linju Yen2

1Department of Life Science, National Central University, Jhongli, Taiwan

2Regenerative Medicine Research Group, Institute of Cellular and System Medicine, National Health Research Institutes (NHRI), Zhunan, Taiwan

3Center for Neuropsychiatric Research, NHRI, Zhunan, Taiwan

4Institute of Polymer Science and Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

5Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

Correspondence to:

B. Linju Yen, email: [email protected]

Keywords: mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), human pluripotent stem cells (PSC), human embryonic stem cells (ESCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), Rho A kinase (ROCK)

Received: April 07, 2016     Accepted: May 23, 2016     Published: June 11, 2016


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are paraxial mesodermal progenitors with potent immunomodulatory properties. Reports also indicate that MSCs can undergo neural-like differentiation, offering hope for use in neurodegenerative diseases. However, ex vivo expansion of these rare somatic stem cells for clinical use leads to cellular senescence. A newer source of MSCs derived from human pluripotent stem cells (PSC) can offer the ‘best-of-both-worlds’ scenario, abrogating the concern of teratoma formation while preserving PSC proliferative capacity. PSC-derived MSCs (PSC-MSCs) also represent MSCs at the earliest developmental stage, and we found that these MSCs harbor stronger neuro-differentiation capacity than post-natal MSCs. PSC-MSCs express higher levels of neural stem cell (NSC)-related genes and transcription factors than adult bone marrow MSCs at baseline, and rapidly differentiate into neural-like cells when cultured in either standard neurogenic differentiation medium (NDM) or when the cytoskeletal modulator RhoA kinase (ROCK) is inhibited. Interestingly, when NDM is combined with ROCK inhibition, PSC-MSCs undergo further commitment, acquiring characteristics of post-mitotic neurons including nuclear condensation, extensive dendritic growth, and neuron-restricted marker expression including NeuN, β-III-tubulin and Doublecortin. Our data demonstrates that PSC-MSCs have potent capacity to undergo neural differentiation and also implicate the important role of the cytoskeleton in neural lineage commitment.

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