Neuron-like differentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells

Keum Seok Bae, Joon Beom Park, Hyun Soo Kim, Dae Sung Kim, Dong Jun Park, Seong Joon Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent and give rise to distinctly differentiated cells from all three germ layers. Neuronal differentiation of MSC has great potential for cellular therapy. We examined whether the cluster of mechanically made, not neurosphere, could be differentiated into neuron-like cells by growth factors, such as epidermal growth factor (EGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Materials and Methods: BMSCs grown confluent were mechanically separated with cell scrapers and masses of separated cells were cultured to form cluster BMSCs. As described here cluster of BMSCs were differentiated into neuron-like cells by EGF, HGF, and VEGF. Differentiated cells were analyzed by means of phase-contrast inverted microscopy, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), immunofluorescence, and immunocytochemistry to identify the expression of neural specific markers. Results: For the group with growth factors, the shapes of neuron-like cells was observable a week later, and two weeks later, most cells were similar in shape to neuron-like cells. Particularly, in the group with chemical addition, various shapes of filament structures were seen among the cells. These culture conditions induced MSCs to exhibit a neural cell phenotype, expressing several neuro-glial specific markers. Conclusion: bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) could be easily induced to form clusters using mechanical scraping, not neurospheres, which in turn could differentiate further into neuron-like cells and might open an attractive possibility for clinical cell therapy for neurodegenerative diseases. In the future, we consider that neuron-like cells differentiated from clusters of BMSCs are needed to be compared and analyzed on a physiological and molecular biological level with preexisting neuronal cells, and studies on the possibility of their transplantation and differentiation capability in animal models are further required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-412
Number of pages12
JournalYonsei medical journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 May

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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