Neural stem cells (NSCs) are characterized by a capacity for self-renewal, differentiation into multiple neural lineages, all of which are considered to be promising components for neural regeneration. However, for cell-replacement therapies, it is essential to monitor the process of in vitro NSC differentiation and identify differentiated cell phenotypes. We report a real-time and label-free method that uses a capacitance sensor array to monitor the differentiation of human fetal brain-derived NSCs (hNSCs) and to identify the fates of differentiated cells. When hNSCs were placed under proliferation or differentiation conditions in five media, proliferating and differentiating hNSCs exhibited different frequency and time dependences of capacitance, indicating that the proliferation and differentiation status of hNSCs may be discriminated in real-time using our capacitance sensor. In addition, comparison between real-time capacitance and time-lapse optical images revealed that neuronal and astroglial differentiation of hNSCs may be identified in real-time without cell labeling.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes