Maintaining Neural Stemness

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Science  28 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5675, pp. 1207
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5675.1207j

The ability to expand neuronal stem cell cultures has been hampered by their tendency to “mature” in culture, reducing their ability to generate neurons rather than glial cells. Shen et al. (p. 1338, published online 1 April 2004; see the Perspective by Wurmser et al.) now show that endothelial cells, but not vascular smooth muscle cells, promote self-renewal and inhibit the differentiation of neural stem cells, which allows the generation of large flat sheets of stem cells. When the endothelial cells are removed, the sheets differentiate and retain their ability to make neurons, including projection neurons normally made in the early embryo, as well as glia. Growth with endothelial cells thus allows expansion of neural stem cells while maintaining multipotency.

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