Cell biology international

Transdifferentiation of chondrocytes into neuron-like cells induced by neuronal lineage specifying growth factors.

PMID 25183647


We previously reported that neural-crest-derived stromal cells from adult human and rat corneas can differentiate into neuron-like cells when treated with neuronal lineage specifying growth factors. However, it remains unclear whether this level of cell plasticity is unique to the corneal stromal cell population present in the eye. In this study, non-neural-crest-derived chondrocytes from the xiphosternum of adult rats were subjected to the same differentiation protocol. Cells of the adult rat xiphosternum can also differentiate into neuron-like cells when treated with neurogenic differentiation specifying growth factors. After 1 week in neurogenic differentiation culture conditions, the chondrocytes changed from a round to a stellate morphology and started to express neuron-specific protein neurofilament-200 (NF-200), microtubule associated protein-2 (Map-2), and β-III tubulin. Lineage-specifying growth factors can affect changes in morphology and protein expression of adult cells in culture, findings that challenge the notion of a restricted differentiation potential of adult cell populations and questions the stability of the differentiated state of cells.