Electrical Guidance of Human Stem Cells in the Rat Brain

Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Jul 11;9(1):177-189. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.05.035. Epub 2017 Jun 29.


Limited migration of neural stem cells in adult brain is a roadblock for the use of stem cell therapies to treat brain diseases and injuries. Here, we report a strategy that mobilizes and guides migration of stem cells in the brain in vivo. We developed a safe stimulation paradigm to deliver directional currents in the brain. Tracking cells expressing GFP demonstrated electrical mobilization and guidance of migration of human neural stem cells, even against co-existing intrinsic cues in the rostral migration stream. Transplanted cells were observed at 3 weeks and 4 months after stimulation in areas guided by the stimulation currents, and with indications of differentiation. Electrical stimulation thus may provide a potential approach to facilitate brain stem cell therapies.

Keywords: brain in vivo; directional cell migration; electric field; electric stimulation; electrotaxis; galvanotaxis; human neural stem cells; in vivo migration; neural stem cells; neuroblasts.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / surgery*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Movement*
  • Cell Tracking
  • Electric Stimulation / instrumentation*
  • Electricity
  • Equipment Design
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neural Stem Cells / transplantation*
  • Neurogenesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins