Neural stem cells deriving from chick embryonic hindbrain recapitulate hindbrain development in culture

Yuval Peretz, Ayelet Kohl, Natalia Slutsky, Marko Komlos, Stas Varshavsky, Dalit Sela-Donenfeld*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Neural stem cells (NSCs) are self-renewing multipotent cells that line the neural-tube and generate all the nervous system. Understanding NSC biology is fundamental for neurodevelopmental research and therapy. Many studies emphasized the need to culture NSCs, which are typically purified from mammalian embryonic/adult brains. These sources are somewhat limited in terms of quantity, availability and animal ethical guidelines. Therefore, new sources are needed. The chick is a powerful system for experimental embryology which contributed enormously to neurodevelopmental concepts. Its accessibility, genetic/molecular manipulations, and homology to other vertebrates, makes it valuable for developmental biology research. Recently, we identified a population of NSCs in the chick hindbrain. It resides in rhombomere-boundaries, expresses Sox2 and generates progenitors and neurons. Here, we investigated whether these cells can recapitulate hindbrain development in culture. By developing approaches to propagate and image cells, manipulate their growth-conditions and separate them into subpopulations, we demonstrate the ordered formation of multipotent and self-renewing neurospheres that maintain regional identity and display differential stem/differentiation/proliferation properties. Live imaging revealed new cellular dynamics in the culture. Collectively, these NSC cultures reproduce major aspects of hindbrain development in-vitro, proposing the chick as a model for culturing hindbrain-NSCs that can be directly applied to other neural-tube domains and species.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number13920
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018

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© 2018, The Author(s).


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