Rapid generation of OPC-like cells from human pluripotent stem cells for treating spinal cord injury

Dae Sung Kim, Se Jung Jung, Jae Souk Lee, Bo Young Lim, Hyun Ah Kim, Jeong Eun Yoo, Dong Wook Kim, Joong Woo Leem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Remyelination via the transplantation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) has been considered as a strategy to improve the locomotor deficits caused by traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). To date, enormous efforts have been made to derive OPCs from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), and significant progress in the transplantation of such cells in SCI animal models has been reported. The current methods generally require a long period of time (>2 months) to obtain transplantable OPCs, which hampers their clinical utility for patients with SCI. Here we demonstrate a rapid and efficient method to differentiate hPSCs into neural progenitors that retain the features of OPCs (referred to as OPC-like cells). We used cell sorting to select A2B5-positive cells from hPSC-derived neural rosettes and cultured the selected cells in the presence of signaling cues, including sonic hedgehog, PDGF and insulin-like growth factor-1. This method robustly generated neural cells positive for platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α (PDGFRα) and NG2 (~90%) after 4 weeks of differentiation. Behavioral tests revealed that the transplantation of the OPC-like cells into the spinal cords of rats with contusive SCI at the thoracic level significantly improved hindlimb locomotor function. Electrophysiological assessment revealed enhanced neural conduction through the injury site. Histological examination showed increased numbers of axon with myelination at the injury site and graft-derived myelin formation with no evidence of tumor formation. Our method provides a cell source from hPSCs that has the potential to recover motor function following SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere361
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 7

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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