The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is a small New World primate that has been used as a non-human primate model for various biomedical studies. We previously demonstrated that transplantation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs) derived from mouse and human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) promote functional locomotor recovery of mouse spinal cord injury models. However, for the clinical application of such a therapeutic approach, we need to evaluate the efficacy and safety of pluripotent stem cell-derived NS/PCs not only by xenotransplantation, but also allotransplantation using non-human primate models to assess immunological rejection and tumorigenicity. In the present study, we established a culture method to efficiently derive NS/PCs as neurospheres from common marmoset ESCs. Marmoset ESC-derived neurospheres could be passaged repeatedly and showed sequential generation of neurons and astrocytes, similar to that of mouse ESC-derived NS/PCs, and gave rise to functional neurons as indicated by calcium imaging. Although marmoset ESC-derived NS/PCs could not differentiate into oligodendrocytes under default culture conditions, these cells could abundantly generate oligodendrocytes by incorporating additional signals that recapitulate in vivo neural development. Moreover, principal component analysis of microarray data demonstrated that marmoset ESC-derived NS/PCs acquired similar gene expression profiles to those of fetal brain-derived NS/PCs by repeated passaging. Therefore, marmoset ESC-derived NS/PCs may be useful not only for accurate evaluation by allotransplantation of NS/PCs into non-human primate models, but are also applicable to analysis of iPSCs established from transgenic disease model marmosets.
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