Objective: To explore the differentiation fates of rat neural stem cells (NSCs) in different environmental conditions.
Methods: NSCs derived from 16-day-old rat embryo were proliferated in vitro and implanted into the brain of rats with intra-cerebral hemorrhage. At the same time some NSCs were co-cultured in vitro with Schwann cells derived from newborn rats. MAP-2, GFAP and GalC (which are the specific markers of neural cells, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes respectively), BrdU and beta-tubulin were detected by immunohistochemical and immunofluorescent methods.
Results: BrdU positive cells that were implanted into the brain distributed around the hemorrhagic area. The majority of them were GFAP positive astrocytes while a few of them were beta-tubulin positive neural cells or GalC positive oligodendrocytes. After being co-cultured with Schwann cells in vitro, NSCs are predominately shown beta-tubulin and MAP-2 positive, and only a minority of them were GFAP or GalC positive.
Conclusions: The hemorrhagic environment in vivo induces NSCs to differentiate mainly into astrocytes while co-culture with Schwann cells in vitro induce the majority of NSCs to differentiate into neural cells.