Glia 2006 Jan;53(1):43-56
Department of Neurology, Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA 30912, USA.
Previously, we showed that radial glia-like (RG) cells differentiated from embryonic stem (ES) cells after retinoic acid induction (Liour and Yu, 2003: Glia 42:109-117). In the present study, we demonstrate that the production of RG cells from ES cells is independent of the neural differentiation protocol used. These ES cell-derived RG (ES-RG) cells are similar in morphology to RG cells in vivo and express several characteristic RG cell markers. The processes of these ES-RG cells are organized into radial arrays similar to the RG scaffold in developing CNS. Expression of Pax6, along with other circumstantial data, suggests that at least some of these ES-RG cells are neural progenitors. The progression of neurogenesis into gliogenesis during the in vitro neural differentiation of ES cells recapitulates the in vivo developmental process. The identification of two cell surface markers, SSEA-1 and GM1, on both the native embryonic RG cells and ES-RG cells, may facilitate purification of radial glial cells for future studies and cell therapy. Overall, our study suggests that differentiation of radial glial cells is a common pathway during the neural differentiation of ES cells.