hPSC-Derived Striatal Cells Generated Using a Scalable 3D Hydrogel Promote Recovery in a Huntington Disease Mouse Model

Maroof M. Adil, Thomas Gaj, Antara T. Rao, Rishikesh U. Kulkarni, Christina M. Fuentes, Gokul N. Ramadoss, Freja K. Ekman, Evan W. Miller, David V. Schaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Huntington disease (HD) is an inherited, progressive neurological disorder characterized by degenerating striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs). One promising approach for treating HD is cell replacement therapy, where lost cells are replaced by MSN progenitors derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). While there has been remarkable progress in generating hPSC-derived MSNs, current production methods rely on two-dimensional culture systems that can include poorly defined components, limit scalability, and yield differing preclinical results. To facilitate clinical translation, here, we generated striatal progenitors from hPSCs within a fully defined and scalable PNIPAAm-PEG three-dimensional (3D) hydrogel. Transplantation of 3D-derived striatal progenitors into a transgenic mouse model of HD slowed disease progression, improved motor coordination, and increased survival. In addition, the transplanted cells developed an MSN-like phenotype and formed synaptic connections with host cells. Our results illustrate the potential of scalable 3D biomaterials for generating striatal progenitors for HD cell therapy. Adil et al. used a 3D biomaterial to generate hPSC-derived MSN progenitors, which rapidly matured into action potential firing neurons. When striatally transplanted in HD genetic model mice, 3D-generated cells significantly delayed disease onset, alleviated disease symptoms, and increased lifespan. This approach demonstrates the scalable generation of functional MSNs, with implications for clinical translation of cell replacement therapy in HD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1481-1491
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cell Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 8 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Huntington disease
  • biomaterials
  • cell replacement therapy
  • differentiation
  • human pluripotent stem cells
  • medium spiny neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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