The early postnatal nonhuman primate neocortex contains self-renewing multipotent neural progenitor cells

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Abstract

The postnatal neocortex has traditionally been considered a non-neurogenic region, under non-pathological conditions. A few studies suggest, however, that a small subpopulation of neural cells born during postnatal life can differentiate into neurons that take up residence within the neocortex, implying that postnatal neurogenesis could occur in this region, albeit at a low level. Evidence to support this hypothesis remains controversial while the source of putative neural progenitors responsible for generating new neurons in the postnatal neocortex is unknown. Here we report the identification of self-renewing multipotent neural progenitor cells (NPCs) derived from the postnatal day 14 (PD14) marmoset monkey primary visual cortex (V1, striate cortex). While neuronal maturation within V1 is well advanced by PD14, we observed cells throughout this region that co-expressed Sox2 and Ki67, defining a population of resident proliferating progenitor cells. When cultured at low density in the presence of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and/or fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2), dissociated V1 tissue gave rise to multipotent neurospheres that exhibited the ability to differentiate into neurons, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. While the capacity to generate neurones and oligodendrocytes was not observed beyond the third passage, astrocyte-restricted neurospheres could be maintained for up to 6 passages. This study provides the first direct evidence for the existence of multipotent NPCs within the postnatal neocortex of the nonhuman primate. The potential contribution of neocortical NPCs to neural repair following injury raises exciting new possibilities for the field of regenerative medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere34383
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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