Human neural stem cells (hNSCs) hold great promises for the development of cell-based therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, given their capability to provide immunomodulatory and trophic support and to replace, to a limited extent, damaged, or lost cells. Human NSCs are under clinical evaluation for the treatment of several neurodegenerative diseases. Still, issues related to the large-scale production of clinical-grade fetal hNSCs and their allogeneic nature-requiring immunosuppressive regimens-have hampered their full exploitation as therapeutics. NSCs derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) provide a valuable alternative to fetal hNSCs since they can be generated from autologous or HLA-matched donors expanded for large-scale clinical-grade production, and are amenable for gene addition/gene editing strategies, thus potentially addressing CNS diseases of genetic origin. The prospective use of hiPSC-derived NSCs (hiPSC-NSCs) for CNS-directed therapies demands a careful evaluation of the efficacy and safety of these cell populations in animal models. Here, we describe a protocol for the transplantation and phenotypical characterization of hiPSC-NSCs in neonatal immunodeficient mice. This protocol is relevant to assessing the safety and the efficacy of hiPSC-NSC transplantation to target early-onset neurodegenerative or demyelinating CNS diseases.
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