While conversion of human fibroblasts into neuronal is not new, traditional methods involve genetic modifications to induce transcription factors that effect the conversion.
Now, in a new paper published in Cell Stem Cell, a group of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences reports of a much more straightforward method of converting fibroblasts into neuronal cells with the use of small molecules only.
The procedure involves seven different small molecules which were applied to the cells for one week, followed by a three-week incubation period with three of the reprogramming molecules.
Two of these molecules are forskolin (a cyclic AMP promoter) and CHIR99021 (a glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta inhibitor). The exact mechanism is not known, though the authors reported that the small molecules acted on genes that were known to direct neuronal fate by erasing fibroblast-specific gene expression of the initial cells.
Starting from human aortal fibroblasts, the resultant cells resemble hPSC-derived neurons with respect to morphology, gene expression profiles, and electrophysiological properties.
Apart from demonstrating neuronal conversion of normal (control) cells, the authors also demonstrated the same effect from Alzheimer patients to create neurons which exhibited features of the disease including elevated Ab42 levels and higher total and phosphorylated Tau levels.
Meet Akron at Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa
Next week, Akron Biotechnology will be attending the Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa, organized by the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, CIRM and the Sanford Consortium of Regenerative Medicine. The meeting runs from October 7-9 in La Jolla, CA. To meet us and talk to us, please get in touch.