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Differentiation of Human Epidermal Neural Crest Stem Cells (hEPI-NCSC) into Virtually Homogenous Populations of Dopaminergic Neurons

Lookup NU author(s): Alla Narytnyk, Dr Burns Verdon, Andrew Loughney, Dr Michele Sweeney, Dr Oliver Clewes, Professor Michael TaggartORCiD, Professor Maya Sieber-Blum



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Here we provide a protocol for the directed differentiation of hEPI-NCSC into midbrain dopaminergic neurons, which degenerate in Parkinson's disease. hEPI-NCSC are neural crest-derived multipotent stem cells that persist into adulthood in the bulge of hair follicles. The experimental design is distinctly different from conventional protocols for embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. It includes pre-differentiation of the multipotent hEPI-NCSC into neural stem cell-like cells, followed by ventralizing, patterning, continued exposure to the TGFβ receptor inhibitor, SB431542, and at later stages of differentiation the presence of the WNT inhibitor, IWP-4. All cells expressed A9 midbrain dopaminergic neuron progenitor markers with gene expression levels comparable to those in normal human substantia nigra. The current study shows for the first time that virtually homogeneous populations of dopaminergic neurons can be derived ex vivo from somatic stem cells without the need for purification, with useful timeliness and high efficacy. This novel development is an important first step towards the establishment of fully functional dopaminergic neurons from an ontologically relevant stem cell type, hEPI-NCSC.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Narytnyk A, Verdon B, Loughney A, Sweeney M, Clewes O, Taggart MJ, Sieber-Blum M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Stem Cells Reviews and Reports

Year: 2014

Volume: 10

Issue: 2

Pages: 316-326

Print publication date: 01/04/2014

Date deposited: 06/07/2015

ISSN (print): 1550-8943

ISSN (electronic): 1558-6804

Publisher: Springer US


DOI: 10.1007/s12015-013-9493-9

PubMed id: 24399192


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Funder referenceFunder name
087961Wellcome Trust
258197Parkinson's UK, a charity registered in England and Wales
22358Medical Research Council UK
K-0903Parkinson's UK
SC037554Parkinson's UK, a charity registered in Scotland
087961/Z/08/ZWellcome Trust