Putting IPS Cells Through Their Paces

As reported at EurekAlert!, researchers are testing induced pluripotency (IPS) in areas in which stem cell therapies have already shown potential. Can the more readily engineered IPS cells do the job? "Neurons derived from reprogrammed adult skin cells successfully integrated into fetal mouse brains and reduced symptoms in a Parkinson's disease rat model ... This is the first demonstration that reprogrammed cells can integrate into the neural system or positively affect neurodegenerative disease ... For the neural experiments Wernig used induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS cells), which were created by reprogramming adult skin cells using retroviruses to express four genes (Oct4, Sox2, c-Myc and Klf4) into the cells' DNA. The IPS cells were then differentiated into neural precursor cells and dopamine neurons using techniques originally developed in embryonic stem cells. ... Wernig saw that transplanted cells formed clusters where they had been injected and then migrated extensively into the surrounding brain tissues. ... the neural precursor cells that migrated had differentiated into several subtypes of neural cells, including neurons and glia, and had functionally integrated into the brain."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-04/wifb-rcr040208.php

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