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Journal Articles Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE Year : 2011

Isolating nasal olfactory stem cells from rodents or humans

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The olfactory mucosa, located in the nasal cavity, is in charge of detecting odours. It is also the only nervous tissue that is exposed to the external environment and easily accessible in every living individual. As a result, this tissue is unique for anyone aiming to identify molecular anomalies in the pathological brain or isolate adult stem cells for cell therapy. Molecular abnormalities in brain diseases are often studied using nervous tissue samples collected post-mortem. However, this material has numerous limitations. In contrast, the olfactory mucosa is readily accessible and can be biopsied safely without any loss of sense of smell(1). Accordingly, the olfactory mucosa provides an "open window" in the adult human through which one can study developmental (e.g. autism, schizophrenia)(2-4) or neurodegenerative (e.g. Parkinson, Alzheimer) diseases(4,5). Olfactory mucosa can be used for either comparative molecular studies(4,6) or in vitro experiments on neurogenesis(3,7). The olfactory epithelium is also a nervous tissue that produces new neurons every day to replace those that are damaged by pollution, bacterial of viral infections. This permanent neurogenesis is sustained by progenitors but also stem cells residing within both compartments of the mucosa, namely the neuroepithelium and the underlying lamina propria(8-10). We recently developed a method to purify the adult stem cells located in the lamina propria and, after having demonstrated that they are closely related to bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSC), we named them olfactory ecto-mesenchymal stem cells (OE-MSC)(11). Interestingly, when compared to BM-MSCs, OE-MSCs display a high proliferation rate, an elevated clonogenicity and an inclination to differentiate into neural cells. We took advantage of these characteristics to perform studies dedicated to unveil new candidate genes in schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease(4). We and others have also shown that OE-MSCs are promising candidates for cell therapy, after a spinal cord trauma(12,13), a cochlear damage(14) or in an animal models of Parkinson's disease(15) or amnesia(16). In this study, we present methods to biopsy olfactory mucosa in rats and humans. After collection, the lamina propria is enzymatically separated from the epithelium and stem cells are purified using an enzymatic or a non-enzymatic method. Purified olfactory stem cells can then be either grown in large numbers and banked in liquid nitrogen or induced to form spheres or differentiated into neural cells. These stem cells can also be used for comparative omics (genomic, transcriptomic, epigenomic, proteomic) studies.

Dates and versions

hal-01736206 , version 1 (16-03-2018)



Stéphane D. Girard, Arnaud Devéze, Emmanuel Nivet, Bruno Gepner, Francois S. Roman, et al.. Isolating nasal olfactory stem cells from rodents or humans. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, 2011, 54, ⟨10.3791/2762⟩. ⟨hal-01736206⟩
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