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See detailFunctional and phenotypic differences of pure populations of stem cell-derived astrocytes and neuronal precursor cells
Kleiderman, Susanne; Sá, Joao; Teixeira, Ana et al

in Glia (2016), 64(5), 695-715

Availability of homogeneous astrocyte populations would facilitate research concerning cell plasticity (metabolic and transcriptional adaptations; innate immune responses) and cell cycle reactivation ... [more ▼]

Availability of homogeneous astrocyte populations would facilitate research concerning cell plasticity (metabolic and transcriptional adaptations; innate immune responses) and cell cycle reactivation. Current protocols to prepare astrocyte cultures differ in their final content of immature precursor cells, pre-activated cells or entirely different cell types. A new method taking care of all these issues would improve research on astrocyte functions. We found here that the exposure of a defined population of pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem cells (NSC) to BMP4 results in pure, non-proliferating astrocyte cultures within 24-48 h. These murine astrocytes generated from embryonic stem cells (mAGES) expressed the positive markers GFAP, aquaporin 4 and GLT-1, supported neuronal function, and acquired innate immune functions such as the response to TNF and IL-1. The protocol was applicable to several normal or disease-prone pluripotent cell lines, and the corresponding mAGES all exited the cell cycle and lost most of their nestin expression, in contrast to astrocytes generated by serum-addition or obtained as primary cultures. Comparative gene expression analysis of mAGES and NSC allowed quantification of differences between the two cell types and a definition of an improved maker set to define astrocytes. Inclusion of several published data sets in this transcriptome comparison revealed the similarity of mAGES with cortical astrocytes in vivo. Metabolic analysis of homogeneous NSC and astrocyte populations revealed distinct neurochemical features: both cell types synthesized glutamine and citrate, but only mature astrocytes released these metabolites. Thus, the homogeneous cultures allowed an improved definition of NSC and astrocyte features. [less ▲]

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