Exp Mol Med.  2007 Aug;39(4):483-490.

Isolation of neural precursor cells from skeletal muscle tissues and their differentiation into neuron-like cells

  • 1Department of Life Science, Kyonggi University, Suwon 443-760, Korea. shghil@kyonggi.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Ajou University, Suwon 443-749, Korea.
  • 3Biomaterials Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul 130-650, Korea.
  • 4Department of Urology, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-701, Korea.


Skeletal muscle contains several precursor cells that generate muscle, bone, cartilage and blood cells. Although there are reports that skeletal muscle-derived cells can trans-differentiate into neural-lineage cells, methods for isolating precursor cells, and procedures for successful neural induction have not been fully established. Here, we show that the preplate cell isolation method, which separates cells based on their adhesion characteristics, permits separation of cells possessing neural precursor characteristics from other cells of skeletal muscle tissues. We term these isolated cells skeletal muscle-derived neural precursor cells (SMNPs). The isolated SMNPs constitutively expressed neural stem cell markers. In addition, we describe effective neural induction materials permitting the neuron-like cell differentiation of SMNPs. Treatment with retinoic acid or forskolin facilitated morphological changes in SMNPs; they differentiated into neuron-like cells that possessed specific neuronal markers. These results suggest that the preplate isolation method, and treatment with retinoic acid or forskolin, may provide vital assistance in the use of SMNPs in cell-based therapy of neuronal disease.


cell differentiation; muscle, skeletal; neuroD protein; stem cells; tissue therapy

MeSH Terms

Antigens, Differentiation/metabolism
Cell Adhesion
*Cell Differentiation
Cell Lineage
Cell Separation
Cells, Cultured
Mice, Inbred ICR
Muscle, Skeletal/*cytology/metabolism
Stem Cells/*cytology/metabolism
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