Neural progenitors from human embryonic stem cells

Nat Biotechnol. 2001 Dec;19(12):1134-40. doi: 10.1038/nbt1201-1134.


The derivation of neural progenitor cells from human embryonic stem (ES) cells is of value both in the study of early human neurogenesis and in the creation of an unlimited source of donor cells for neural transplantation therapy. Here we report the generation of enriched and expandable preparations of proliferating neural progenitors from human ES cells. The neural progenitors could differentiate in vitro into the three neural lineages--astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and mature neurons. When human neural progenitors were transplanted into the ventricles of newborn mouse brains, they incorporated in large numbers into the host brain parenchyma, demonstrated widespread distribution, and differentiated into progeny of the three neural lineages. The transplanted cells migrated along established brain migratory tracks in the host brain and differentiated in a region-specific manner, indicating that they could respond to local cues and participate in the processes of host brain development. Our observations set the stage for future developments that may allow the use of human ES cells for the treatment of neurological disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Brain / embryology
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Transplantation
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Phase-Contrast
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Time Factors


  • Bromodeoxyuridine