In vitro neurogenesis: development and functional implications of iPSC technology
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- Compagnucci, C., Nizzardo, M., Corti, S. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2014) 71: 1623. doi:10.1007/s00018-013-1511-1
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Neurogenesis is the developmental process regulating cell proliferation of neural stem cells, determining their differentiation into glial and neuronal cells, and orchestrating their organization into finely regulated functional networks. Can this complex process be recapitulated in vitro using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology? Can neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases be modeled using iPSCs? What is the potential of iPSC technology in neurobiology? What are the recent advances in the field of neurological diseases? Since the applications of iPSCs in neurobiology are based on the capacity to regulate in vitro differentiation of human iPSCs into different neuronal subtypes and glial cells, and the possibility of obtaining iPSC-derived neurons and glial cells is based on and hindered by our poor understanding of human embryonic development, we reviewed current knowledge on in vitro neural differentiation from a developmental and cellular biology perspective. We highlight the importance to further advance our understanding on the mechanisms controlling in vivo neurogenesis in order to efficiently guide neurogenesis in vitro for cell modeling and therapeutical applications of iPSCs technology.