Isolation of neural precursor cells from Alzheimer's disease and aged control postmortem brain

Mark A. Lovell, Hartmut Geiger, Gary E. Van Zant, Bert C. Lynn, William R. Markesbery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Recent studies demonstrate that isolated neural precursor cells are capable of generating neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes from neurogenic regions of adult brain. Because these studies use surgically resected or fresh postmortem specimens from young subjects, it is not clear whether neural precursor cells remain in the brain of normal aged subjects or subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD). The purpose of this study was to determine if viable precursor cells remain in aged control and AD brain. AD subjects have significantly fewer viable precursor cells in the hippocampus compared with age-matched normal control subjects. Musashi-1 and Ki-67-positive precursor cells from AD self renew, but reach senescence earlier than cells isolated from normal aged control subjects. Precursor cells from AD and aged normal control specimens can differentiate into tubulin- and Tuj-1-positive neurons and GFAP-positive astrocytes. This study demonstrates that viable precursor cells remain in AD and aged normal control brain specimens and can be induced to differentiate. These results raise the possibility of stimulation of inherent precursor cells of aged individuals or AD patients to replace neurons lost in aging and/or neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-917
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants 5P50-AG05144, 5P01-AG05119 and grants from the Abercrombie Foundation and Kleberg Foundation. The authors thank Chengsong Xie and Shuling Xiong for assistance with Western blots and micrographs, Paula Thomason for editorial assistance, and Sonya Anderson for subject demographic data.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Neural stem/precursor cells
  • Neurodegeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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