Morphological and functional studies of cells derived from post-natal neural stem cells
This dissertation investigates the morphological and functional characteristics of cells that have been differentiated from post-natal neural stem cells. The population of neural stem cells that were investigated in these experiments are oligodendrocytic precursor cells (OPC). Previous studies have shown that OPC that are sequentially exposed to bone morphogenetic protein and basic fibroblast growth factor convert into a cell that can give rise to oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, and neurons. However, none of these previous studies investigated the functional properties of the differentiated cells;The second chapter of this work describes both the morphological and functional characteristics of the differentiated cells. We show that a large percentage of these cells differentiate into functional neurons that have voltage gated calcium channels, ligand gated calcium channels, and are able to release glutamate in response to ATP (adenosine triphosphate) stimulation. Furthermore, we show that these differentiated neurons have morphological markers consistent with neuronal differentiation;The third chapter of this dissertation demonstrates that astrocytes influence receptor expression in the differentiated neurons. The receptor that was investigated was N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) which is a subtype of glutamate receptor and has been shown to be important in many processes critical to neuronal function.