Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol:100 Suppl 1 pages:11854-60
We recently showed that a rare cell from murine bone marrow, which we termed multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs), can be expanded for >120 population doublings. Mouse (m)MAPCs differentiate into mesenchymal lineage cells as well as endothelium and endoderm, and, when injected in the blastocyst, mMAPCs contribute to most if not all somatic cell lineages including the different cell types of the brain. Our results, reported herein, demonstrate that mMAPCs can also be induced to differentiate into cells having anatomical and electrophysiological characteristics similar to those of midbrain neurons. Differentiation to a neuronal phenotype was achieved by coculturing mMAPCs with astrocytes, suggesting that neuronal differentiation may require astrocyte-derived factors similar to what is required for the differentiation of embryonic stem cells and neural stem cells to neurons. Differentiation of mMAPCs to neuron-like cells follows similar developmental steps as described for embryonic stem cells and neural stem cells. MAPCs therefore may constitute a source of cells for treatment of central nervous system disorders.