Direct conversion of fibroblasts into stably expandable neural stem cells

Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Apr 6;10(4):473-9. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 Mar 22.


Recent advances have suggested that direct induction of neural stem cells (NSCs) could provide an alternative to derivation from somatic tissues or pluripotent cells. Here we show direct derivation of stably expandable NSCs from mouse fibroblasts through a curtailed version of reprogramming to pluripotency. By constitutively inducing Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc while strictly limiting Oct4 activity to the initial phase of reprogramming, we generated neurosphere-like colonies that could be expanded for more than 50 passages and do not depend on sustained expression of the reprogramming factors. These induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) uniformly display morphological and molecular features of NSCs, such as the expression of Nestin, Pax6, and Olig2, and have a genome-wide transcriptional profile similar to that of brain-derived NSCs. Moreover, iNSCs can differentiate into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Our results demonstrate that functional NSCs can be generated from somatic cells by factor-driven induction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Dedifferentiation*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / transplantation
  • Mice
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Neural Stem Cells / transplantation
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Oligodendroglia / cytology
  • Oligodendroglia / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE36484