“Rapid Generation of Functional Dopaminergic Neurons From Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Through a Single-Step Procedure Using Cell Lineage Transcription Factors”
From Stem Cells Translational Medicine
The degeneration of dopamine (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra leads to Parkinson’s disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disease (Lees et al). The molecular mechanisms behind the disease are slowly being uncovered, but these efforts were not helped by the relative lack of a modelable cell type. The discovery of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology has allowed the generation of PD-specific pluripotent cells to allow the study of development down the neuronal lineage (Cooper et al, Devine et al and Nguyen et al) in an effort to mimic early human development. However, known protocols are often laborious and time-expensive, a problem which led researchers from the laboratory of Vania Broccoli at the Stem Cells and Neurogenesis Unit, Division of Neuroscience, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy to study and produce a quicker, more efficacious means of producing DA neurons. They now report, in Stem Cells Translational Medicine, that the forced expression of three specific transcription factors allows for the conversion of iPSCs into functional DA neurons at a high efficiency and in a short time period, and additionally apply this protocol successfully to PD-specific iPSCs (Theka et al).