Recently, it has been proposed that bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) have a broader capacity for differentiation than previously contemplated. In vitro studies have indicated that BMSCs may have the capacity to differentiate into neuroectodermal-like cells in response to various growth conditions, including those commonly used to maintain and differentiate cultures of primary neural stem cells (NSCs). Interpreting the wealth of data on this subject has been difficult because of variation in the starting cell population and the differences between the methods used to induce their differentiation. Here we evaluate how cultures of expanded BMSCs with a consistent immunophenotype respond to a variety of growth conditions and induction agents and review their ability to form neural-like derivatives. In addition, we report on some modifications to previously published techniques for the generation of neural-like cells from BMSCs in vitro.
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