Analysis of the temporal expression of nestin in human fetal brain derived neuronal and glial progenitor cells

Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2002 Mar 31;134(1-2):87-92. doi: 10.1016/s0165-3806(01)00325-x.


Nestin expression in the developing human brain was examined with the use of unique human specific anti-nestin antibodies. Double immunostaining of cell cultures and tissue sections derived from first and second trimester human fetal brain (HFB) examined the co-expression of nestin with other cell type specific phenotypic markers. The immunocytochemical analysis shows that from first to second trimester, the majority of developing glial cells exhibited a transitional state marked by co-expression of nestin and GFAP. However, the corresponding transitional state for developing neuronal cells, co-expressing nestin and MAP-2, was rarely detected. These results imply different temporal patterns of nestin expression in cells of glial and neuronal lineages. Confocal microscopy of HFB tissue section staining also revealed a similar pattern of nestin co-expression with glial and neuronal markers. Our results suggest that nestin expression alone may not identify an undifferentiated stem cell, and that progenitor cells in glial and neuronal lineages express nestin in different temporal patterns.

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Biomarkers
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Nestin
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • NES protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nestin