Neural stem cells derived directly from adipose tissue

Eric D. Petersen, Jessica R. Zenchak, Olivia V. Lossia, Ute Hochgeschwender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Neural stem cells (NSCs) are characterized as self-renewing cell populations with the ability to differentiate into the multiple tissue types of the central nervous system. These cells can differentiate into mature neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. This category of stem cells has been shown to be a promisingly effective treatment for neurodegenerative diseases and neuronal injury. Most treatment studies with NSCs in animal models use embryonic brain-derived NSCs. This approach presents both ethical and feasibility issues for translation to human patients. Adult tissue is a more practical source of stem cells for transplantation therapies in humans. Some adult tissues such as adipose tissue and bone marrow contain a wide variety of stem cell populations, some of which have been shown to be similar to embryonic stem cells, possessing many pluripotent properties. Of these stem cell populations, some are able to respond to neuronal growth factors and can be expanded in vitro, forming neurospheres analogous to cells harvested from embryonic brain tissue. In this study, we describe a method for the collection and culture of cells from adipose tissue that directly, without going through intermediates such as mesenchymal stem cells, results in a population of NSCs that are able to be expanded in vitro and be differentiated into functional neuronal cells. These adipose-derived NSCs display a similar phenotype to those directly derived from embryonic brain. When differentiated into neurons, cells derived from adipose tissue have spontaneous spiking activity with network characteristics similar to that of neuronal cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-647
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • cell culture
  • growth factors
  • neurospheres
  • stem cell transplantation


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