NSTI Nanotech 2009

Human Neural Stem Cell Differentiation Potential Determined by Electric Fields

F.H. Labeed, J. Lu, S.A. Marchenko, K.F. Hoettges, M.P. Hughes, E.S. Monuki, A.P. Lee, L.A. Flanagan
University of Surrey, UK

Keywords: neural, stem cells, differentiation, dielectrophoresis, membrane


“Stem cells” is a term used to describe primal cells capable of differentiating into a number of specialised cells. Human neural stem cells (HuNSCs) are of interest because of their potential use for central nervous system injuries and disease. However, major difficulties lie in identifying stem cells due to lack of appropriate biomarkers. Dielectrophoresis (DEP) is a non-invasive technique utilizing induced motion of particles in non-uniform electric fields. The main factors influencing electrical properties of a cell are the surface charge, membrane capacitance and conductivity of the cytoplasm which combine to form an electrophysiological “fingerprint” of the cell. A previous study has shown DEP identify differences in neural stem cells and their differentiated progeny, neurons and glia in mice. In this study we investigated two types of HuNSCs, (SC27- with a tendency to differentiate into neurons), and (SC23-with a tendency to differentiate into glia or astrocytes). The results showed there are significant identifiable differences in specific capacitance of the membranes of both types of HuNSCs. Furthermore, the electrophysiological properties of the HuNSC populations changed over time, which correlated with the changing differentiation potential of cells. The work demonstrated a novel, label-free technique that predicted the neurogenic potential of HuNSCs .
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