Differentiation of Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells Using Low-Intensity Ultrasound

I. Chi Lee*, Tsu Lin Lo, Tai Horng Young, Yi Chen Li, Nelson Chen, Chung Hsuan Chen, Ying Chih Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Herein, we report the evaluation of apoptosis, cell differentiation, neurite outgrowth and differentiation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) in response to low-intensity ultrasound (LIUS) exposure. NSPCs were cultured under different conditions, with and without LIUS exposure, to evaluate the single and complex effects of LIUS. A lactic dehydrogenase assay revealed that the cell viability of NSPCs was maintained with LIUS exposure at an intensity range from 100 to 500 mW/cm2. Additionally, in comparison with no LIUS exposure, the cell survival rate was improved with the combination of medium supplemented with nerve growth factor and LIUS exposure. Our results indicate that LIUS exposure promoted NSPC attachment and differentiation on a glass substrate. Neurite outgrowth assays revealed the generation of longer, thicker neurites after LIUS exposure. Furthermore, LIUS stimulation substantially increased the percentage of differentiating neural cells in NSPCs treated with nerve growth factor in comparison with the unstimulated group. The high percentage of differentiated neural cells indicated that LIUS induced neuronal networks denser than those observed in the unstimulated groups. Furthermore, the release of nitric oxide, an important small-molecule neurotransmitter, was significantly upregulated after LIUS exposure. It is therefore reasonable to suggest that LIUS promotes the differentiation of NSPCs into neural cells, induces neurite outgrowth and regulates nitric oxide production; thus, LIUS may be a potential candidate for NSPC induction and neural cell therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2195-2206
Number of pages12
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Induction
  • Low-intensity ultrasound
  • Neural stem/progenitor cells
  • Neurite outgrowth
  • Neuron
  • Neuron network

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