Human skin contains keratinocytes in the epidermis. Such cells share their ectodermal origin with the central nervous system (CNS). Recent studies have demonstrated that terminally differentiated somatic cells can adopt a pluripotent state, or can directly convert its phenotype to neurons, after ectopic expression of transcription factors. In this article we tested the hypothesis that human keratinocytes can adopt neural fates after culturing them in suspension with a neural medium. Initially, keratinocytes expressed Keratins and Vimentin. After neural induction, transcriptional upregulation of and was observed, concomitant with significant increases in NESTIN detected by immunostaining. However, differentiation did not yield the expression of neuronal or astrocytic markers. We tested the differentiation potential of control and neural-induced keratinocytes by grafting them in the developing CNS of rats, through ultrasound-guided injection. For this purpose, keratinocytes were transduced with lentivirus that contained the coding sequence of green fluorescent protein. Cell sorting was employed to select cells with high fluorescence. Unexpectedly, 4 days after grafting these cells in the ventricles, both control and neural-induced cells expressed green fluorescent protein together with the neuronal proteins βIII-Tubulin and Microtubule-Associated Protein 2. These results support the notion that environment provides appropriate signals to evaluate the neuronal differentiation potential of keratinocytes or other non-neural cell populations.
Última actualización: 16/04/2021