Numerous studies demonstrated that neural crest stem cells (NCSCs) have been identified not only during embryonic development but also in adulthood. In humans, stem cells with neural crest properties are stored in the hair follicle, skin dermis, adipose tissue, bone marrow, palate, nasal mucosa, dental pulp, etc.
Human NCSCs isolated from different tissues are characterized by the following biological properties:
● high proliferation rate;● high migration potential;● capability to self-renew;● ability to form neuro-like spheroids in specific serum-free growth environment or on cultural plates with a non-adhesive surface;● the display of the key neural crest cells markers — SOX10, CD271 (P75, LNGFR), NESTIN, SOX2, SNAIL1, SNAIL2, TWIST1, TFAP2A;● the expression of the MSCs markers — CD73, CD90, and CD105;● the expression of the pluripotency and stemness markers — OCT3/4, KLF4, c-MYC, and NANOG;● NCSCs are negative for CD34, CD45, HLA-DR, CD56, and CD117 expression;● rich spectrum of secretome — IL-2Ra, IL-3, IL-5, IL-8, IL-16, MCP-1, SDF1a, GM-CSF, M-CSF, VEGF, HGF, bFGF, NGF etc.;● the ability for multilineage differentiation in vitro — adipocytes, chondrocytes, osteocytes, myocytes, melanocytes, neuronal cell lineages, Schwann cells;● cell plasticity allows NCSCs to be well integrated structurally and functionally after transplantation in the recipient’s tissues and organs;● non-tumorigenic in vivo.
All the biological properties of NCSCs mentioned above, together with several accessible sources in the adult body, make these cells attractive candidates for regenerative medicine, especially in neurology.
Biotechnologists of the laboratory successfully isolate, grow, and determine the NCSCs from:
● hair follicle neural crest stem cells (HF NCSCs) — a cell product obtained from human hair follicles. Hair follicles grow during all life, and the hair cycle is a well-controlled process involving stem cell proliferation and quiescence. Hair bulge is a well-characterized niche for adult stem cells, including epithelial stem cells, melanocyte stem cells, and neural crest-like stem cells. The hair follicle is isolated from the skin specimens of the scalp zone under local anesthesia by a dermal punch knife. It is a safe and minimally invasive procedure. HF NCSCs are self-renewed, multipotent stem cells that express specific markers of specialized cells and display appropriate functions in ex vivo conditions. Besides HF NCSCs, our biotechnologists can isolate dermal fibroblasts and adipose-derived MSCs from the same skin specimen. These cell types could be grown to the needed quantity and stored until usage.
● skin-derived neural crest stem cells (SD NCSCs) — a cell product obtained from skin specimens of the scalp zone under local anesthesia by minimally invasive punch biopsy. SD NCSCs rapidly proliferate, are prone to multilineage differentiation (adipocytes, chondrocytes, osteocytes, neurons, and Schwann cells), have clonogenic potential.
● dental pulp neural crest stem cells (DP NCSCs) — a cell product obtained from the dental pulp of deciduous human teeth. Dental pulp of human teeth is a rich source of stem cells with the properties of NCSCs. The isolation of stem cells from dental pulp is a common noninvasive surgical practice that can be performed in the adult during life: orthodontic extraction, wisdom tooth extraction, exfoliated deciduous. It should be noted that isolation of DP NCSCs is one of the possibilities toward personalized medicine via own cell banking. DP NCSCs are characterized by huge therapeutic potential due to high proliferation rate, ability to form a neurosphere-like structure in appropriate conditions, expression of numerous markers that are specific for neural crest cells and nervous system cells (NESTIN, MUSASHI-1, p75, CD56, SNAIL-1,-2, SLUG, SOX-9, SOX-2, neurofilament, glial fibrillary acidic protein, etc.), angiogenic potential (DP NCSSCs secrete PDGF, bFGF, VEGF, ANG, ANGPT1, CSF, EDN1, IL-8, IGFB3, MCP-1), multilineage differentiation potential (adipogenic, chondrogenic, osteogenic, myogenic, dentonogenic, neurogenic), possessing immunomodulatory properties by expressing IL-6, IL-8, TGF-β, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase.
● palate-derived neural crest stem cells (pNCSCs) — a cell product isolated from oral mucosa samples of the hard palate (paracrestal location) during elective dentoalveolar surgery.