Human stem cell derived sensory neurons

Commonly used acronym: hSCDS neurons

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Human derived cells / tissues / organs
Specify the type of cells/tissues/organs
Starting from human embryonic stem cells to sensory neurons with a nociceptor phenotype


Method keywords
  • Stem cell differentiation
Scientific area keywords
  • human sensory neurons
Method description

We use stem cell-derived sensory neurons and via a small molecule-based protocol (Young et al, 2014) we derive them into human sensory neurons with a nociceptor phenotype (express somatosensory ion channels).

Lab equipment

Cell culture.

Method status
  • Still in development
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential


One of the only available methods to have easy and accessible human sensory neurons.

  • You work with artifical cells.
  • Differentiation protocol can vary and give variability.
  • Yes, optimalization of the protocol to obtain less variability, more research into what type of neurons you obtain, and more protocols to other types of neurons.
  • Differentiation in the presence of other neuronal cell types might give a more natural environment and result.
Future & Other applications
  • Mutating the initial stem cells might give information about neuronal development.
  • Adding genetic fluorescent proteins can give information about expression at different time points and locations.

References, associated documents and other information


The protocol is based on :

  • - Chambers et al, nat biotech, 2012 ;
  • - Young et al, mol ther, 2014.

And was later optimized by the stem cell institute @ KU Leuven.

References that use the protocol (for different research purposes):

  • - Desiderio et al, cell rep, 2019 ;
  • - Vangeel et al, JBP, 2020.