Xenotransplantation of adult hippocampal neural progenitors into the developing zebrafish for assessment of stem cell plasticity
Adult stem cells are considered multipotent, restricted to differentiate into a few tissue-specific cell types. With the advent of technologies which can dedifferentiate and transdifferentiate cell types, assumptions about the process of cell fate determination must be reconsidered, including the role of extrinsic versus intrinsic factors. To determine the plasticity of adult neural progenitors, rat hippocampal progenitor cells were xenotransplanted into embryonic zebrafish. These animals allow for easy detection of transplanted cells due to their external development and transparency at early stages. Adult neural progenitors were observed throughout the zebrafish for the duration of the experiment (at least five days post-transplantation). While the majority of transplanted cells were observed in the central nervous system, a large percentage of cells were located in superficial tissues. However, approximately one-third of these cells retained neural morphology and expression of the neuronal marker, Class III β-tubulin, indicating that the transplanted adult neural progenitors did not adapt alternate fates. A very small subset of cells demonstrated unique, non-neural flattened morphology, suggesting that adult neural progenitors may exhibit plasticity in this model, though at a very low rate. These findings demonstrate that the developing zebrafish may be an efficient model to explore plasticity of a variety of adult stem cell types and the role of external factors on cell fate.
This article is published as Sandquist EJ, Essner JJ, Sakaguchi DS (2018) Xenotransplantation of adult hippocampal neural progenitors into the developing zebrafish for assessment of stem cell plasticity. PLoS ONE 13(5): e0198025. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0198025.