Multipotent stem cells are thought to be responsible for the generation of new neurons in the adult brain. Neurogenesis also occurs in an accessible part of the nervous system, the olfactory mucosa. We show here that cells from human olfactory mucosa generate neurospheres that are multipotent in vitro and when transplanted into the chicken embryo. Cloned neurosphere cells show this multipotency. Multipotency was evident without prior culture in vitro: cells dissociated from adult rat olfactory mucosa generate leukocytes when transplanted into bone marrow-irradiated hosts, and cells dissociated from adult mouse olfactory epithelium generated numerous cell types when transplanted into the chicken embryo. It is unlikely that these results can be attributed to hematopoietic precursor contamination or cell fusion. These results demonstrate the existence of a multipotent stem-like cell in the olfactory mucosa useful for autologous transplantation therapies and for cellular studies of disease.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc