Identification and isolation of multipotential neural progenitor cells from the subcortical white matter of the adult human brain

Nat Med. 2003 Apr;9(4):439-47. doi: 10.1038/nm837. Epub 2003 Mar 10.


The subcortical white matter of the adult human brain harbors a pool of glial progenitor cells. These cells can be isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) after either transfection with green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the CNP2 promoter, or A2B5-targeted immunotagging. Although these cells give rise largely to oligodendrocytes, in low-density culture we observed that some also generated neurons. We thus asked whether these nominally glial progenitors might include multipotential progenitor cells capable of neurogenesis. We found that adult human white-matter progenitor cells (WMPCs) could be passaged as neurospheres in vitro and that these cells generated functionally competent neurons and glia both in vitro and after xenograft to the fetal rat brain. WMPCs were able to produce neurons after their initial isolation and did not require in vitro expansion or reprogramming to do so. These experiments indicate that an abundant pool of mitotically competent neurogenic progenitor cells resides in the adult human white matter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain Tissue Transplantation
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Separation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neuroglia / transplantation
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons / transplantation
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology*