Embryonic cerebrospinal fluid nanovesicles carry evolutionarily conserved molecules and promote neural stem cell amplification

PLoS One. 2014 Feb 12;9(2):e88810. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088810. eCollection 2014.


During brain development, neural stem cells (NSCs) receive on-or-off signals important for regulating their amplification and reaching adequate neuron density. However, how a coordinated regulation of intracellular pathways and genetic programs is achieved has remained elusive. Here, we found that the embryonic (e) CSF contains 10¹² nanoparticles/ml (77 nm diameter), some of which were identified as exosome nanovesicles that contain evolutionarily conserved molecules important for coordinating intracellular pathways. eCSF nanovesicles collected from rodent and human embryos encapsulate protein and microRNA components of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling pathway. Supplementation of eCSF nanovesicles to a mixed culture containing eNSCs activated the IGF-mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway in eNSCs and expanded the pool of proliferative eNSCs. These data show that the eCSF serves as a medium for the distribution of nanovesicles, including exosomes, and the coordinated transfer of evolutionary conserved molecules that regulate eNSC amplification during corticogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / cytology*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Exosomes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction
  • Somatomedins / metabolism
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Somatomedins
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1