A clear understanding of cell fate regulation during differentiation is key in successfully using stem cells for therapeutic applications. Here, we report that mild electrical stimulation strongly influences embryonic stem cells to assume a neuronal fate. Although the resulting neuronal cells showed no sign of specific terminal differentiation in culture, they showed potential to differentiate into various types of neurons in vivo, and, in adult mice, contributed to the injured spinal cord as neuronal cells. Induction of calcium ion influx is significant in this differentiation system. This phenomenon opens up possibilities for understanding novel mechanisms underlying cellular differentiation and early development, and, perhaps more importantly, suggests possibilities for treatments in medical contexts.
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