The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the retinal environment and retinoic acid (RA) pretreatment on the differentiation of transplanted adult rat hippocampus-derived neural stem cells (AHSCs). AHSCs were transplanted into embryonic (E18) or neonatal (P6) rat retinal explants and the mixture was cultured for 2 weeks. Other AHSCs were stimulated by 0.5 microM all-trans RA for 6 days before transplantation. Immunofluorescent double staining showed that a larger number of AHSCs became beta-tubulin III-positive neurons in the E18 than in P6 retinas. In addition, many AHSCs became MAP2ab-positive and MAP5-positive neurons following RA pretreatment and transplantation. Only a few AHSCs became HPC-1-, calbindin-, PKC- or rhodopsin-positive cells under these conditions. We conclude that the microenvironment supplied by embryonic retinas is conductive to neuronal differentiation in general. RA stimulation before transplantation was also effective in stimulating differentiation.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science B.V.