Lab-Grown Neurons Could Help Scientists Repair Damaged Brain Tissue

Credit: L’agence Ody.C for AXA Research Fund

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are emerging as promising tools for modeling and treating human neural diseases.

IPSCs have two main and unique properties: they can self renew indefinitely and they can become any type of cell of an organism – this is why they are called pluripotent. They have properties similar to those of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) but they are produced from adult cells (such as skin cells, for example) rather than from embryos. Indeed, when skin fibroblasts are cultured in a petri dish under the influence of adequate reprogramming factors, they can be reprogrammed into cells that look like ESCs, but which are pluripotent. This seminal discovery by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2012.

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