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Generation of kisspeptin-responsive GnRH neurons from human pluripotent stem cells

Poliandri, A and Miller, D and Howard, S and Nobles, M and Ruiz-Babot, G and Harmer, S and Tinker, A and McKay, T and Guasti, L and Dunkel, L (2017) Generation of kisspeptin-responsive GnRH neurons from human pluripotent stem cells. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 447. pp. 12-22. ISSN 0303-7207


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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. GnRH neurons are fundamental for reproduction in all vertebrates, integrating all reproductive inputs. The inaccessibility of human GnRH-neurons has been a major impediment to studying the central control of reproduction and its disorders. Here, we report the efficient generation of kisspeptin responsive GnRH-secreting neurons by directed differentiation of human Embryonic Stem Cells and induced-Pluripotent Stem Cells derived from a Kallman Syndrome patient and a healthy family member. The protocol involves the generation of intermediate Neural Progenitor Cells (NPCs) through long-term Bone morphogenetic protein 4 inhibition, followed by terminal specification of these NPCs in media containing Fibroblast Growth Factor 8 and a NOTCH inhibitor. The resulting GnRH-expressing and -secreting neurons display a neuroendocrine gene expression pattern and present spontaneous calcium transients that can be stimulated by kisspeptin. These in vitro generated GnRH expressing cells provide a new resource for studying the molecular mechanisms underlying the development and function of GnRH neurons.

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