WARF: P04277US

In Vitro Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells and Neurons from Human Embryonic Stem Cells


Su-Chun Zhang, Xue-jun Li

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a simple and efficient method of differentiating human embryonic stem cells into neural stem cells and neurons.
OVERVIEWHuman embryonic stem (hES) cells have the potential to provide a source of specific cell types for research and ultimately, for therapeutic transplantation into humans.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed a simple and efficient method of differentiating human embryonic stem cells into neural stem cells and neurons for pharmaceutical screening and potential transplant therapy. The system is easily standardized and completely chemically defined. First, hES cells are aggregated and treated with fibroblast growth factors to induce the cells’ development into early neural stem cells. Different combinations of growth factors are then used to direct these naïve neural stem cells to become progenitors of various types of neurons. The neural progenitors organize into neural tube-like rosettes that can be readily enriched and further differentiated into functional spinal motor neurons, midbrain dopaminergic neurons or forebrain dopaminergic neurons.
  • Pharmaceutical and toxicological screening of a compound’s effect on neuronal development and function
  • Isolating a population of forebrain dopamine neurons, midbrain dopamine neurons or spinal motor neurons at specific developmental stages
  • Allows directed differentiation of hES cells toward a specialized neuronal fate in a standard culture system
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Andy DeTienne at or 608-960-9857.
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