Isolation and intracerebral grafting of nontransformed multipotential embryonic human CNS stem cells

Angelo Vescovi, Angela Gritti, Rossella Galli, Eugenio A. Parati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


In this work, we show that the embryonic human brain contains multipotent central nervous system (CNS) stem cells, which may provide a continuous, standardized source of human neurons that could virtually eliminate the use of primary human fetal brain tissue for intracerebral transplantation. Multipotential stem cells can be isolated from the developing human CNS in a reproducible fashion and can be exponentially expanded for longer than 2 years. This allows for the establishment of continuous, nontransformed neural cell lines, which can be frozen and banked. By clonal analysis, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, and electrophysiological assay, we found that over such long-term culturing these cells retain both multipotentiality and an unchanged capacity for the generation of neuronal cells, and that they can be induced to differentiate into catecholaminergic neurons. Finally, when transplanted into the brain of adult rodents immunosuppressed by cyclosporin A, human CNS stem cells migrate away from the site of injection and differentiate into neurons and astrocytes. No tumor formation was ever observed. Aside from depending on scarce human neural fetal tissue, the use of human embryonic CNS stem cells for clinical neural transplantation should provide a reliable solution to some of the major problems that pertain to this field, and should allow determination of the safety characteristics of the donor cells in terms of tumorigenicity, viability, sterility, and antigenic compatibility far in advance of the scheduled day of surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-693
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Cell replacement
  • EGF
  • FGF2
  • Human stem cells
  • Neural transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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