Biphasic electrical currents stimulation promotes both proliferation and differentiation of fetal neural stem cells.

Academic Article


  • The use of non-chemical methods to differentiate stem cells has attracted researchers from multiple disciplines, including the engineering and the biomedical fields. No doubt, growth factor based methods are still the most dominant of achieving some level of proliferation and differentiation control--however, chemical based methods are still limited by the quality, source, and amount of the utilized reagents. Well-defined non-chemical methods to differentiate stem cells allow stem cell scientists to control stem cell biology by precisely administering the pre-defined parameters, whether they are structural cues, substrate stiffness, or in the form of current flow. We have developed a culture system that allows normal stem cell growth and the option of applying continuous and defined levels of electric current to alter the cell biology of growing cells. This biphasic current stimulator chip employing ITO electrodes generates both positive and negative currents in the same culture chamber without affecting surface chemistry. We found that biphasic electrical currents (BECs) significantly increased the proliferation of fetal neural stem cells (NSCs). Furthermore, BECs also promoted the differentiation of fetal NSCs into neuronal cells, as assessed using immunocytochemistry. Our results clearly show that BECs promote both the proliferation and neuronal differentiation of fetal NSCs. It may apply to the development of strategies that employ NSCs in the treatment of various neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
  • Authors

  • Chang, Keun-A
  • Kim, Jin Won
  • Kim, Jeong A
  • Lee, Sung Eun
  • Kim, Saeromi
  • Suh, Won Hyuk
  • Kim, Hye-Sun
  • Kwon, Sunghoon
  • Kim, Sung June
  • Suh, Yoo-Hun
  • Publication Date

  • April 13, 2011
  • Published In

  • PLoS ONE  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Humans
  • Neurons
  • Stem Cells
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • e18738
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 4