Inefficiency in primary neural stem cell transfection is a major obstacle in gene expression research aimed at determining the mechanisms underlying brain development. Following our initial finding that liposome-mediated transfection procedures are fairly toxic to neural stem cells, we further examined whether transfection efficiency could be improved by preventing cells from undergoing apoptosis. Transfection efficiencies were markedly enhanced by co-transfection of cells with prototypic anti-apoptotic genes, such as bcl-2 and bcl-xL, and supplementing the culture medium with B27 Supplement. This combination of anti-apoptotic gene co-transfection and B27 Supplement resulted in approximately 5% transfection efficiency of primary neural stem cells, compared to less than 0.2% in control transfections. Therefore, this procedure and other similar approaches employed to enhance the efficiency of transfecting neural stem cells may facilitate the understanding of mechanisms underlying self-renewal of neural stem cells and their differentiation into various cell lineages.
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