Neurons derived from PC12 cells have the potential to develop synapses with primary neurons from rat cortex
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Neuron transplantation is considered to be a promising therapeutic method to replace functions lost due to central nervous system (CNS) damage. However, little is known about the extent to which implanted neuron-like cells can develop into mature neurons and acquire essential properties, and especially form synapses with host neurons. In this investigation we seeded PC12 cells labeled with GFP into primary cultured neurons isolated from rat cerebral cortex to build a co-culture system, and then induced the PC12 cells to differentiate into neuron-like cells with NGF. Seven days later, we observed the relationship between the PC12-derived neurons and primary neurons using FM1-43 imaging and immunoelectron microscopy, and found that GFP-labeled neurons could form typical synapses with host primary neurons. These observations showed that immigrant neurons differentiated from PC12 cells could develop into mature neurons and could form intercellular contacts with host neurons. Both the immigrant and host neurons could construct neuronal networks in vitro.
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Shaojun Liu, Department of Neurobiology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, The Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Beijing, 100850, P. R. China