Intra-operatively obtained human tissue: protocols and techniques for the study of neural stem cells

J Neurosci Methods. 2009 May 30;180(1):116-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2009.02.014. Epub 2009 Mar 5.


The discoveries of neural (NSCs) and brain tumor stem cells (BTSCs) in the adult human brain and in brain tumors, respectively, have led to a new era in neuroscience research. These cells represent novel approaches to studying normal phenomena such as memory and learning, as well as pathological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, stroke, and brain tumors. This new paradigm stresses the importance of understanding how these cells behave in vitro and in vivo. It also stresses the need to use human-derived tissue to study human disease because animal models may not necessarily accurately replicate the processes that occur in humans. An important, but often underused, source of human tissue and, consequently, both NSCs and BTSCs, is the operating room. This study describes in detail both current and newly developed laboratory techniques, which in our experience are used to process and study human NSCs and BTSCs from tissue obtained directly from the operating room.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytes / physiology
  • Astrocytes / ultrastructure
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Brain Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Culture Media / chemistry
  • Culture Media / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intraoperative Period / methods*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / ultrastructure
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Spheroids, Cellular / physiology
  • Spheroids, Cellular / ultrastructure
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / ultrastructure
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / methods*


  • Biomarkers
  • Culture Media
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins