Experimental Advances Towards Neural Regeneration from Induced Stem Cells to Direct In Vivo Reprogramming
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- Dametti, S., Faravelli, I., Ruggieri, M. et al. Mol Neurobiol (2016) 53: 2124. doi:10.1007/s12035-015-9181-7
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Neuronal loss is a common substrate of many neurological diseases that still lack effective treatments and highly burden lives of affected individuals. The discovery of self-renewing stem cells within the central nervous system (CNS) has opened the doors to the possibility of using the plasticity of CNS as a potential strategy for the development of regenerative therapies after injuries. The role of neural progenitor cells appears to be crucial, but insufficient in reparative processes after damage. In addition, the mechanisms that regulate these events are still largely unknown. Stem cell-based therapeutic approaches have primarily focused on the use of either induced pluripotent stem cells or induced neural stem cells as sources for cell transplantation. More recently, in vivo direct reprogramming of endogenous CNS cells into multipotent neural stem/progenitor cells has been proposed as an alternative strategy that could overcome the limits connected with both the invasiveness of exogenous cell transplantation and the technical issues of in vitro reprogramming (i.e., the time requested and the limited available amount of directly induced neuronal cells). In this review, we aim to highlight the recent studies on in vivo direct reprogramming, focusing on astrocytes conversion to neurons or to neural stem/precursors cells, in the perspective of future therapeutic purposes for neurological disorders.