Neural stem cells (NSC) are a valuable model system for understanding the intrinsic and extrinsic controls for self-renewal and differentiation choice. They also offer a platform for drug screening and neurotoxicity studies, and hold promise for cell replacement therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Fully exploiting the potential of this experimental tool often requires the manipulation of intrinsic cues of interest using transfection methods, to which NSC are relatively resistant. In this paper, we show that mouse and human NSC readily take up polystyrene-based microspheres which can be loaded with a range of chemical or biological cargoes. This uptake can take place in the undifferentiated stage without affecting NSC proliferation and their capacity to give rise to neurons and glia. We demonstrate that ß-galactosidase-loaded microspheres could be efficiently introduced into NSC with no apparent toxic effect, thus providing proof-of-concept for the use of microspheres as an alternative biomolecule delivery system.
- neural stem cells
- neurotoxicity studies
- cell replacement therapies
- neurodegenerative diseases
- polystyrene-based microspheres
- neurons and glia
- β-galactosidase-loaded microspheres