The differentiated type of neuroblastomaxglioma hybrid cell line, NG108-15, has widely been used in in vitro studies instead of primary-cultured neurons. Here we examined whether NG108-15 cells can be used as a model for studying the neuronal differentiation process. We compared the expression of neuronal proteins (neurofilament 200 (NF200), phosphorylated-NF200 (p-NF200), microtubule associated protein 2, synaptophysin, syntaxin 1, choline acetyltransferase, and acetylcholinesterase (AChE)) and a glial protein (vimentin) between undifferentiated and differentiated NG108-15 cells by immunocytochemistry and immunoblot analysis. The expression of all neuronal proteins, with the exception of NF200 and p-NF200, was positive in differentiated cells, but almost negative in undifferentiated cells. On the other hand, cytoskeletal intermediate filaments (NF200 and p-NF200) for neurons and that (vimentin) for glia were present in both undifferentiated and differentiated cells. Furthermore, a high expression of AChE mRNA was confirmed in differentiated cells by reverse transcription-PCR analysis. Our results showed that even though the expression of cytoskeletal filaments does not change during differentiation of NG108-15 cells, these cells during differentiation can serve as an appropriate tool for investigating and understanding the mechanisms involved in neuronal development and differentiation. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd and the Japan Neuroscience Society.
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