Int. J. Dev. Biol. 54: 707 - 715 (2010)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.092851ec
© UPV/EHU Press

Increased cellular turnover in response to fluoxetine in neuronal precursors derived from human embryonic stem cells

Eun-Ah Chang1, Zeki Beyhan1, Myung-Sik Yoo1, Kannika Siripattarapravat1, Tak Ko1, Keith J. Lookingland2, Burra V. Madhukar3 and Jose B. Cibelli*,4,5

1Animal Science, 2Pharmacology & Toxicology, 3Pediatrics & Human Development, 4Animal Science and Physiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA and 5Programa Andaluz de Terapia Celular y Medicina Regenerativa, Andalucía, Spain

ABSTRACT Previous reports have shown that antidepressants increase neuronal cell proliferation and enhance neuroplasticity both in vivo and in vitro. This study investigated the direct effects of one such antidepressant, fluoxetine , on cell proliferation and on the production of neurotrophic factors in neuronal precursors derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs; H9). Fluoxetine induced the differentiation of neuronal precursors, strongly enhancing neuronal characteristics. The rate of proliferation was higher in fluoxetine -treated cells than in control cells, as determined by MTT [3(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl) 2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] assay. The CPDL (cumulative population doubling level) of the fluoxetine-treated cells was significantly increased in comparison to that of control cells (p<.001). Bromodeoxyuridine incorporation and staurosporine-induced apoptosis assays were elevated in fluoxetine-treated cells. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed no significant differences in the expression of neurotrophic factors, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF);glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB) between cells treated with fluoxetine for two weeks and their untreated counterparts. These results may help elucidate the mechanism of action of fluoxetine as a therapeutic drug for the treatment of depression. Data presented herein provide more evidence that, in addition to having a direct chemical effect on serotonin levels, fluoxetine can influence hESC-derived neuronal cells by increasing cell proliferation, while allowing them to maintain their neuronal characteristics.


human embryonic stem cell, neuronal precursor, fluoxetine, cellular turnover

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