Synthetic small molecules that induce neuronal differentiation in neuroblastoma and fibroblast cells
An investigation was conducted to demonstrate that neurodazine (Nz) and neurodazole (Nzl), two imidazole-based small molecules, promote neuronal differentiation in both neuroblastoma and fibroblast cells. The results show that differentiated cells generated by treatment with Nz and Nzl express neuron-specific markers. The ability of Nz and Nzl to induce neurogenesis of neuroblastoma and fibroblast cells was found to be comparable to those of the known neurogenic factors, retinoic acid and trichostatin A. In addition, the cells differentiated by Nz and Nzl are observed to express different isoforms of glutamate receptors. The results of signaling pathway studies reveal that two substances enhance neurogenesis in neuroblastoma cells by activating Wnt and Shh signaling pathways and neurogenesis in fibroblast cells by mainly activating the Wnt signaling pathway. Observations made in the present study suggest that Nz and Nzl will serve as chemical tools to generate specific populations of neuronal cells from readily available and simply manageable cells.