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Neural stem cells (NSCs) have a bright application prospect to be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases due to their capacity to give rise to the appropriate cell types when they are grafted. At present, however, the function of NSCs after transplantation is not quite ensured, whether to replace the degenerative cells or to secrete nutrient factors. On the other hand, pheochromocytoma cell line 12 (PC12) cells have been widely used for investigating Parkinson's disease (PD) since their apoptosis is similar to that of dopaminergic neuron cells. Therefore, the possible cytoprotective effects of NSCs on the apoptosis of PC12 cells induced by serum deprivation were investigated in this paper. PC12 cells were cocultured with NSCs in DMEM/F12 medium free of serum, and their morphologies, viabilities, and survival were observed with an inverted microscope and assessed with a CCK-8 assay. In addition, the concentrations of glial derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in different medium were detected with a GDNF Elisa kit, and the mechanism of NSC's protective effect on PC12 cell apoptosis induced by serum deprivation was analyzed. The results showed that (1) PC12 cell apoptosis induced by serum deprivation increased with time, and only about 44.25% PC12 cells survived after 72 h; (2) NSCs culture medium protected against PC12 cell apoptosis insignificantly; (3) NSCs' supernatant and NSCs mildly prevented PC12 cells from apoptosis; (4) the amount of GDNF secreted by NSCs increased after the coculture with the apoptotic PC12 cells induced by serum deprivation. It can be concluded that there exists clear interaction between NSCs and apoptotic PC12 cells, and that GDNF secretion from NSCs is one of the important mechanisms to prevent the apoptosis of PC12 cells.

Original publication




Journal article


Biotechnol Prog

Publication Date





952 - 957


Animals, Apoptosis, Cell Differentiation, Cell Survival, Cells, Cultured, Coculture Techniques, Culture Media, Culture Media, Serum-Free, Dopamine, Neurons, PC12 Cells, Rats, Stem Cells, Time Factors