Recent observations have suggested that extensive culturing of adult neural stem cells (ANSCs) by exploiting the NeuroSphere assay might select for aggressive cell clones, endowed with neoplastic potential, that overgrow the rest of the native stem cells. However, a detailed study of the propensity of ANSCs to transform has never been thoroughly undertaken. Here, we report the first demonstration that ANSCs can be propagated in vitro for over a year, maintaining a strikingly stable profile with regard to self-renewal, differentiation, growth factor dependence, karyotype, and molecular profiling. Most importantly, the long-term culturing of ANSCs did not result in the formation of tumors in vivo, even when ANSCs were transduced with Myc and Ras oncogenes. The cancer resistance could depend on specific mechanisms aimed at protecting ANSCs and preserved by optimal nonstressful culture conditions. In conclusion, besides a plentiful and safe source of cells for therapeutic applications, ANSCs provide an ideal model to study aging and cancer in the context of stemness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research