Human pluripotent stem cell differentiation into authentic striatal projection neurons

Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2013 Aug;9(4):461-74. doi: 10.1007/s12015-013-9441-8.


Here we present the principles and steps of a protocol that we have recently developed for the differentiation of hES/iPS cells into the authentic human striatal projection medium spiny neurons (MSNs) that die in Huntington's Disease (HD). Authenticity is judged by the convergence of multiple features within individual cells. Our procedure lasts 80 days and couples neural induction via BMP/TGF-β inhibition with exposure to the developmental factors sonic hedgehog (SHH) and dickkopf1 (DKK-1) to drive ventral telencephalic specification, followed by terminal differentiation [1]. Authenticity of the resulting neuronal population is monitored by the appearance of FOXG1(+)/GSX2(+) progenitor cells of the lateral ganglionic eminence (LGE) at day 15-25 of differentiation, followed by appearance of CTIP2-, FOXP1- and FOXP2-positive cells at day 45. These precursor cells then mature into MAP2(+)/GABA(+) neurons with 20 % of them ultimately co-expressing the DARPP-32 and CTIP2 diagnostic markers and carrying electrophysiological properties expected for fully functional MSNs.The protocol is characterized by its replicability in at least three human pluripotent cell lines. Altogether this protocol defines a useful platform for in vitro developmental neurobiology studies, drug screening, and regenerative medicine approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Differentiation* / drug effects
  • Cell Lineage / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media, Conditioned / pharmacology
  • Feeder Cells / cytology
  • Feeder Cells / drug effects
  • Feeder Cells / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neostriatum / cytology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism


  • Culture Media, Conditioned