From the Journals: Scientists Derive Mature Brain Cells From Skin Using stem cells, scientists have devised a method to generate neurons—mature brain cells—by reprogramming a patient's skin cells. The research, to be published in the September 2013 issue of Stem Cell Research, opens new, non-invasive avenues for brain treatment. Researchers believe the method could lead to customized treatments ... From the Journals
From the Journals  |   July 01, 2013
From the Journals: Scientists Derive Mature Brain Cells From Skin
Author Notes
Article Information
Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / From the Journals
From the Journals   |   July 01, 2013
From the Journals: Scientists Derive Mature Brain Cells From Skin
The ASHA Leader, July 2013, Vol. 18, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ6.18072013.34
The ASHA Leader, July 2013, Vol. 18, 34-35. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ6.18072013.34
Using stem cells, scientists have devised a method to generate neurons—mature brain cells—by reprogramming a patient's skin cells. The research, to be published in the September 2013 issue of Stem Cell Research, opens new, non-invasive avenues for brain treatment. Researchers believe the method could lead to customized treatments for patients based on their genetic and cellular information, and hope that difficult-to-study diseases such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and autism now can be probed more safely and effectively.
The team found a way to differentiate unspecialized or undifferentiated pluripotent stem cells into mature human neurons much more effectively, generating cells that behave similarly to neurons in the brain. In the brain, neurons are always found in proximity to star-shaped cells called astrocytes, which are abundant in the brain and help neurons to function properly. Scientists predicted that this direct physical contact might be an integral part of neuronal growth and health.
To test this hypothesis, researchers cultured neural stem cells, which are stem cells that have the potential to become neurons. These cells were cultured on top of a one-cell-thick layer of astrocytes so that the two cell types were physically touching each other. This direct contact seemed to spur the cells into differentiating into neurons.
To demonstrate the superiority of the neurons grown next to astrocytes, the team used an electrophysiology recording technique to show that the cells grown on astrocytes had many more synaptic events—signals sent out from one nerve cell to the others. In another experiment, after growing the neural stem cells next to astrocytes for just one week, the newly differentiated neurons started to fire action potentials—the rapid electrical excitation signal that occurs in all neurons in the brain. In a final test, the team members added human neural stem cells to a mixture with mouse neurons. They found "cross-talk"—one neuron contacting its neighbors and releasing a neurotransmitter to modulate its neighbor's activity—between the mouse neurons and the human neurons.
0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
July 2013
Volume 18, Issue 7