Differentiation of human adipose-derived adult stem cells into neuronal tissue: does it work?

Differentiation. 2009 Mar;77(3):221-8. doi: 10.1016/j.diff.2008.10.016. Epub 2009 Jan 24.


Adipose tissue contains many cells and proteins that are of value not only for their potential therapeutic applications, but also for the low cost of their harvest and delivery. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) were originally isolated from the bone marrow, although similar populations have been isolated from adipose and other tissues. At one time, neural tissues were not regarded as regenerative populations of cells. Therefore, the identification of cell populations capable of neuronal differentiation has generated immense interest. Adipose tissue may represent an alternative source of cells that are capable of neuronal differentiation, potentially enhancing its use in the treatment of neurological disease. The aim of this review is to cover the current state of knowledge of the differentiation potential of human adipose-derived stem (ADAS) cells, specifically their ability to give rise to neuronal cells in vitro. This review presents and discusses different protocols used for inducing human ADAS cells to differentiate in vitro, and the neuronal markers utilized in each system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Adult Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Neurons / cytology*