Human adult olfactory neuroepithelial derived progenitors retain telomerase activity and lack apoptotic activity

Charles Taylor Marshall, Zhanfang Guo, Chengliang Lu, Kathleen M. Klueber, Abdelnaby Khalyfa, Nigel G.F. Cooper, Fred J. Roisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Olfactory epithelium (OE) contains a population of progenitors responsible for its life-long regenerative capacity. Procedures for the isolation of these progenitors have been established [F.J. Roisen, K.M. Klueber, C.L. Lu, L.M. Hatcher, A. Dozier, C.B. Shields, Adult human olfactory stem cells, Brain Res., 890 (2001) 11-12.] and over 40 patient-specific cell lines from adult postmortem OE and endoscopic biopsy from patients undergoing nasal sinus surgery have been obtained. As these cells emerged in primary cultures, they formed neurospheres (NSFCs). The purpose of the present study was to further characterize these adult human olfactory-derived progenitors. Subcultures of the NSFCs have been passaged nearly 200 times, with a mitotic cycle of 18-20 h. Telomerase activity remains in stem cells; therefore, ELISA was employed to determine the telomerase activity of different lines and passages. Since progenitors undergo low levels of apoptosis, the levels of apoptosis were also examined in these populations. The levels of telomerase and apoptotic activity in 12 NSFC lines remained relatively constant irrespective of donor age, culture duration, or sex. To further study the apoptotic characteristics of the NSFCs, nine different caspases (cysteine proteases) known to be critical in apoptosis were evaluated using gene-microarrays comparing cells from a single line at passages 14, 88, and 183. No increases were found in caspase activity in all passages studied. ELISA confirmed the absence of caspase activity over the entire range of passages. This study further suggests that NSFCs can be obtained and used from patients, irrespective of age, sex, or time in culture without altered viability expanding the potential utility of these cells for autologous transplantation and possible diagnostic testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 31 2005


  • Apoptosis
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Progenitors
  • Stem cells
  • Telomerase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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