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Adult cells transformed into early-stage nerve cells, bypassing the pluripotent stem cell stage
Date:5/2/2013

ys. First, the Sendai virus, a kind of cold virus, is considered safe because it does not enter the cell's DNA, and it is killed by heat within 24 hours. (This is quite similar to the fever that raises our temperature to remove cold virus.) Second, the neural progenitors have a greater ability to grow daughter cells for research or therapy. Third, the progenitor cells are already well along the path toward specialization, and cannot become, say, liver or muscle cells after implantation. Finally, the progenitors can produce many more specialized cells.

The neurons that grew from the progenitor had the markings of neurons found in the rear of the brain, and that specialization can also be helpful. "For therapeutic use, it is essential to use specific types of neural progenitors," says Zhang. "We need region-specific and function-specific neuronal types for specific neurological diseases."

Progenitor cells grown from the skin of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) or spinal muscular atrophy patients can be transformed into various neural cells to model each disease and allow rapid drug screening, Zhang adds.

Eventually, the process could produce cells used to treat conditions like spinal cord injury and ALS.

"These transplantation experiments confirmed that the reprogrammed cells indeed belong to cells of the intended brain regions and the progenitors produced the three major classes of neural cells: neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes," Zhang says. "This proof-of-principle study highlights the possibility to generate many specialized neural progenitors for specific neurological disorders."


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Contact: Su-Chun Zhang
szhang4@wisc.edu
608-265-2543
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

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