Somatic cells were directly converted to functional neurons through the use of a combination of transcription factors, including Ascl1, Brn2, and Myt1l. However, a major limitation is the lack of a reliable source of cell-replacement therapy for neurological diseases. Here, we show that a combination of the transcription factors Ascl1 and Nurr1 (AN) and neurotrophic factors including SHH and FGF8b directly reprogrammed embryonic mouse fibroblasts to induced neuronal (iN) cells: pan-neuronal cells and dopaminergic (DA) neurons under our systematic cell culture conditions. Reprogrammed cells showed the morphological properties of neuronal cells. Additionally, cells were analyzed using various markers, including Tuj1 and Map2 for neuronal cells and Lmx1a, Th, Aadc and Vmat2 for DA neurons in our immunostaining and reverse transcription (RT)-PCR experiments. We found that a combination of transcription factors and neurotrophic factors could directly reprogram fibroblasts to neuronal cells including DA neurons. Various types of reprogrammed cells are promising cell sources for cell-based therapy of neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injury.
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