Functional Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells into Neuronal Subtypes: A Biological Tool for Developmental Neurotoxicity Studies


  • CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR), Developmental Toxicology Laboratory, System Toxicology and Health Risk Assessment Group, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, 226001, India
  • Maharishi University of Information Technology, Department of Zoology, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, 226013, India


Neural Stem Cells (NSCs), owing to their potential to get differentiated into various mature cell subtypes including neuronal cells have proved to be an indefinite source of 'raw material' for their application in developmental neurotoxicity as well as therapeutic intervention in neurodegenerative disorders. However, applications of NSCs for such purposes have been broadly limited by lack of enough methods for their directed differentiation. Herein, we describe a chemically defined protocol for efficient differentiation of rat neural stem cells to neuronal subtypes using an 8-day time period. NSCs, subject to NGF (50 ng/mL) were differentiated into neuronal sub-types supplemented with a cocktail of growth factors and supplements. Differentiating cells revealed a gradual and significant induction in the neuronal markers and a parallel decrease in markers of stemness as confirmed by immunocytochemical and translational analysis. The expression of markers was found to be maximum at day 8 of differentiation. Such selective differentiation of NSCs into neurons could offer an imperative step towards generation of NSC derivatives that could facilitate their utilization for research studies.


Nerve Growth Factor, Neural Stem Cells, Neuronal Subtypes.

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