In the 3 May Nature, Fred Gage and colleagues of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California report the successful isolation and propagation of neural progenitor tissue from post-mortem brain tissue (Nature 2001, 411:42-43).

Two hours post mortem brain tissue was removed from an 11-week-old neonate and a 27-year-old adult. The samples were placed in cold antibiotic-containing Hank's buffered salt solution and processed for cell culture 3 hours later. Representative sections of the hippocampus, ventricular zone, motor cortex and corpus callosum were taken. The highest yields of neural progenitor cells came from the hippocampus and the ventricular zone. Cells from neonatal tissue grew at log phase for up to 70 population doublings before senescence occurred. Adult cultures could be expanded for more than 30 doublings before senescence. Both the neonatal and adult cultures gave rise to neurons and astrocytes but oligodendrocytes were rare.

Although the cells...

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