The neurosphere assay, a method under scrutiny

Deleyrolle, Loic P., Rietze, Rodney L. and Reynolds, Brent A. (2008) The neurosphere assay, a method under scrutiny. Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 20 1: 2-8. doi:10.1111/j.1601-5215.2007.00251.x

Author Deleyrolle, Loic P.
Rietze, Rodney L.
Reynolds, Brent A.
Title The neurosphere assay, a method under scrutiny
Journal name Acta Neuropsychiatrica   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0924-2708
Publication date 2008-02-01
Year available 2007
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1111/j.1601-5215.2007.00251.x
Volume 20
Issue 1
Start page 2
End page 8
Total pages 7
Editor G. S. Malhi
J. Lagopoulos
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Subject 780105 Biological sciences
270602 Animal Physiology - Cell
Formatted abstract
Objectives: The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the fundamental features of the neurosphere assay (NSA), which was initially described in 1992, and has since been used not only to detect the presence of stem cells in embryonic and adult mammalian neural tissues, but also to study their characteristics in vitro. Implicit in this review is a detailed examination of the limitations of the NSA, and how this assay is most accurately and appropriately used. Finally we will point out criteria that should be challenged to design alternative ways to overcome the limits of this assay.

Methods: NSA is used to isolate putative neural stem cells (NSCs) from the central nervous system (CNS) and to demonstrate the critical stem cell attributes of proliferation, extensive self-renewal and the ability to give rise to a large number of differentiated and functional progeny. Nevertheless, the capability of neural progenitor cells to form neurospheres precludes its utilisation to accurately quantify bona fide stem cell frequency based simply on neurosphere numbers. New culture conditions are needed to be able to distinguish the activity of progenitor cells from stem cells.

Conclusion: A commonly used, and arguably misused, methodology, the NSA has provided a wealth of information on precursor activity of cells derived from the embryonic through to the aged CNS. Importantly, the NSA has contributed to the demise of the 'no new neurogenesis' dogma, and the beginning of a new era of CNS regenerative medicine. Nevertheless, the interpretations arising from the utilisation of the NSA need to take into consideration its limits, so as not to be used beyond its specificity and sensitivity.
Keyword growth factors
neural stem cell
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
2008 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 7 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 8 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 19 Mar 2008, 19:45:12 EST