Dr Floran Obermay, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne and Department of Pediatric Surgery and Pediatric Urology, University Children’s Hospital, University of Tübingen, Germany.
Neural stem or progenitor cells have been proposed to restore gastrointestinal function in patients suffering from congenital or acquired defects of the enteric nervous system. We generated neurospheres from fetal and post-natal intestinal neural crest-derived cells and implanted them into the colon of postnatal mice. Neurosphere-derived cells migrated, proliferated and generated neurons and glial cells. In addition the cells formed ganglion-like clusters, exhibited morphological, neurochemical and electrophysiological characteristics of neurons. These findings show that transplanted enteric neural progenitor cells can generate functional enteric neurons in the post-natal bowel.