Mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells were stimulated to differentiate either as adherent monolayer cultures in DMEM/F12 supplemented with N2/B27, or as floating embryoid bodies (EBs) exposed to 1μM retinoic acid (RA) for 4 days, starting from 4 DIV, and subsequently re-plated in DMEM/F12 medium. Adherent monolayer cultures of ES cells expressed mGlu5 receptors throughout the entire differentiation period. Selective pharmacological blockade of mGlu5 receptors with methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine (MPEP) (1 μM, added once a day) accelerated the appearance of the neuronal marker, β-tubulin. In addition, treatment with MPEP increased the number of cells expressing glutamate decarboxylase-65/67 (GAD65/67), a marker of GABAergic neurons. In floating EBs, mGlu5 receptors are progressively replaced by mGlu4 receptors. The orthosteric mGlu4/6/7/8 receptor agonist, L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutanoate (L-AP4), or the selective mGlu4 receptor enhancer, PHCCC, - both combined with RA at concentrations of 30 μM - increased the expression of both β-tubulin and GAD65/67, inducing the appearance of fully differentiated neurons that released GABA in response to membrane depolarization. We conclude that mGlu receptor subtypes regulate neuronal differentiation of ES cells in a context-dependent manner, and that subtype-selective ligands of these receptors might be used for the optimization of in vitro protocols aimed at producing GABAergic neurons from ES cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology