• iPSC Astrocytes Differentiation
    • Drug Discovery
    • CNS disease modeling
    iPSC Astrocytes Differentiation

Astrocytes Differentiation Service

Human iPSC-derived astrocytes are a powerful in vitro tool for developing physiologically relevant models of human CNS and disease. These iPSC-derived astrocytes recapitulate the morphological and functional properties of primary cells with advantages of cell culture. Applied StemCell provides custom service to differentiate your iPSCs into neural stem cells (NSCs) and further into ready-to-use astrocytes with high purity (>90%):

  • Robust, mature astrocytes with morphology of primary astrocytes
  • Cells express key astrocyte specific markers: GFAP and S100beta; other markers available upon request
  • Differentiate from your healthy, disease or engineered iPSCs
  • “Master” iPSCs available for deriving control astrocyte lines
  • Optional! Cell Line validation and drug screening services available 
Will the iPSC-derived astrocytes be provided as mature or precursor cells?
Is there a separate medium for maintaining iPSC-derived astrocyte cells in culture?
Do you characterize astrocyte precursor cells (APCs) using CD44 or A2B5 staining?
Will you be able to provide astrocyte precursor cells (APCs) be passaged?
Products and Services
Support Materials
Application Notes

Astrocyte Differentiation from Control Human iPSC


Figure 1. Immunocytochemical characterization of astrocytes derived from NSCs using proprietaryprotocols and optimized media yield >90% GFAP+ cells (astrocyte marker) and <1% Tuj1+ cells (neuronal marker).

TECHNICAL-astrocyte-GFAPand S100beta

Figure 2. Cytoplasmic co-localization of astrocyte markers, GFAP (green) and S100b (red), and nucleus-staining marker, Hoechst (blue).
Technical Details

Astrocytes, the most abundant glial cells found in the central nervous system and spinal cord, play a critical role in neuronal development, neuronal metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis, and synaptic function as well as repair and neurogenesis during CNS and spinal cord injury. Astrocyte dysfunction has been implicated in neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Huntington’s disease.

iPSC-derived astrocytes provide a readily sourced, consistent, and biologically relevant alternative to primary astrocytes for the study of synaptic transmission and plasticity in normal CNS function and disease progression. The directed differentiation of iPSCs to glial cells (microglia, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes) and neuronal lineage cells (neural stem cells and neurons) is of special importance for neurobiology and related disorders, considering the dearth of clinically relevant in vitro models available for research, drug screening and development, as well as the lack of effective therapy to reverse neuronal damage.

Get your own iPSC-derived astrocytes and other CNS cell line models with Applied StemCell’s comprehensive iPSC-differentiation service:

  • iPSCs reprogrammed from fibroblasts, PBMCs, cord blood cells and more
  • Differentiation from your healthy/ patient/ genome engineered iPSC lines
  • Also available, fully characterized “Master” control iPSC lines for generating control lines
  • You can also generate physiologically relevant, co-culture models with isogenic neurons and microglia generated from the same parental iPSCs.
  • High quality and high purity cell lines expressing key lineage markers
  • Add-on our downstream, cell line validation and phenotype assessment assays for a complete and comprehensive cell line package.


  • Co-culture with neurons for advanced, in vivo-like cell line models
  • Neurotoxicity screening
  • Disease modeling
  • High throughput drug discovery and drug screening applications
  • Drug neurotoxicity screening applications

Benefits and advantages of iPSC differentiation to neurons and glial cells:

  • iPSC-derived neurons and glial cells are genetic and physiologically relevant in vitro models to study neural development and associated disorders: congenital disorders, neurodegenerative disorders and brain tumors.
  • Avoid genetic variability; generate isogenic neurons and glial cells in cell culture formats that are reproducible and scalable
  • Generates a valuable model for identifying new targets for neuro-regeneration as opposed to treatments limiting to symptomatic relief or delaying disease progression.
  • Allows for future adaptation of technology for regenerative medicine and cell therapy in humans for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Lou-Gehrig disease (ALS), Huntington’s disease, and spinal cord injury among other diseases.
  • Differentiation of genome engineered in iPSCs (mutation introduction or correction) to neurons, offers an isogenic source of control-disease cell lines for basic research, drug development, hard-to-model neurological disorders, and potentially for gene therapy.  

Standard Deliverables

  • Cryopreserved iPSC-derived astrocytes: >90% GFAP+; S100beta+
  • Antibody staining images and/or flow cytometry data for the cell type specific markers
  • Recovery Test, Mycoplasma Test
  • Sub-culture protocol and media (optional)
  • Other markers (available upon request)

Other related services

We also have off-shelf products of differentiated cell lines, including isogenic panels of iPSC-derived NSCs, astrocyte, dopamine neurons and mixed neurons from two control iPSC lines (one male and one female) and cardiomyocytes.

Astrocyte Differentiation Service Timeline

Astrocyte Differentiation Service

Service Time Deliverables
1. Recovery, Expansion and Validation of iPSCs/ESCs (If providing iPSCs as source)  2-3 weeks Biweekly updates throughout service
2. Neural Stem Cells Differentiation & characterization (if providing iPSCs as source)  2-3 weeks  
4. Astrocyte maturation   2-3 months Cryopreserved, iPSC-derived astrocytes
5. Astrocyte characterization 1 week Final report; High resolution images


Figure. Schematic representation of microglia and neuronal lineage cell differentiation from iPSCs.

Case Studies

Astrocyte Differentiation Service

Case Study 1:

Project Description:

  • Differentiation of Customer Provided iPSCs to Astrocytes


  1. iPSC Recovery & Expansion
  2. Pathogen Screening
  3. Astrocyte Differentiation
  4. Antibody Staining (GFAP+, S100beta) (Flow Cytometry is Available if Inquired)

Turnaround time: 3-4 months


  • 5 million cells; 1 million/vial
  • Final Report with QC Data
    • QC Data Includes:
      • Human Pathogen Screening Result for the Parental Line
      • Recovery Test
      • Mycoplasma Test
      • Antibody Staining (GFAP, S100beta)

Figure 1. Bright Field Image of iPSC-derived Astrocytes From Customer-provided iPSCs.

Figure 2: Antibody Staining of the iPSC-derived Astrocytes. The astrocytes differentiated from the customer's iPSC line were stained with the astrocyte markers GFAP and s100beta. Left Three Images: Top Image: GFAP (Green), Middle Image: DAPI (Blue), Bottom Image: GFAP (Green) & DAPI (Blue); Right Three Images: Top Image: s100beta (Red), Middle Image: DAPI (Blue), Bottom Image: s100beta (Red) & DAPI (Blue)

Case Study 2:

Project Description:

  • To differentiate astrocytes from Applied StemCell’s NIST Control Line, ASE-9211


  1. iPSC Recovery & Expansion
  2. Astrocyte Differentiation
  3. Antibody Staining (GFAP+, S100beta) (Flow Cytometry is Available if Inquired)

Turnaround time: 3-4 months

Figure 1. Bright Field Image of iPSC-derived Astrocytes from Applied StemCell’s (ASC's)Control Line, ASE-9211.

Figure 2: Antibody Staining of the Astrocytes differentiated from the NIST Control Line, ASE-9211. The astrocytes differentiated from the ASC's iPSC line were stained with the astrocyte markers GFAP and s100beta. Left Three Images: Top Image: GFAP (Green), Middle Image: DAPI (Blue), Bottom Image: GFAP (Green) & DAPI (Blue); Right Three Images: Top Image: s100beta (Red), Middle Image: DAPI (Blue), Bottom Image: s100beta (Red) & DAPI (Blue)

Have Questions?

An Applied StemCell technical expert is happy to help, contact us today!