Olfactory Stem Cells From Adult Rats
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The formation of neurospheres was important in demonstrating that neurogenesis in the adult brain may be fuelled by a stem cell population. The olfactory mucosa is another site of neurogenesis which, in humans, has been observed to contain a stem cell population through the formation of neurospheres (Murrell et al., 2005). Stem cells can be defined as cells capable of self-renewal and multipotency. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential of rat olfactory stem cells growing as neurospheres. The hypothesis is that the rat olfactory mucosa contains a 'true' stem cell population that can be cultured as neurospheres and that will demonstrate multipotency by differentiating into 'non-olfactory' cell types and possess the capacity for self-renewal, if provided with the appropriate environmental niche. Here it was found that adult rat olfactory mucosa is capable of generating neurospheres when cultured in EGF and bFGF. Evidence of self-renewal was provided by the formation of six generations of neurospheres, the formation of neurospheres from single cells and the expression of markers associated with self-renewal by neurosphere cells. The multipotency of olfactory neurosphere cells was demonstrated through manipulation of the stem cell niche. In defined culture conditions, extracellular matrix molecules and growth factors were able to induce the differentiation of neurosphere cells down the dopaminergic lineage pathway. When co-cultured with differentiating cells, neonatal myoblasts and 3T3-L1 cells, olfactory neurosphere cells were able to differentiate and incorporate into a skeletal muscle myotube and differentiate into adipocytes, respectively. In conclusion it was found that the adult rat olfactory mucosa is capable of generating neurospheres. When presented with an appropriate niche neurosphere cells are able to self-renew and demonstrate multipotency.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences
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Olfactory stem cells