Cell transplantation

The Role of Gene Editing in Neurodegenerative Diseases.

PMID 28258666


Neurodegenerative diseases (NDs), at least including Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's diseases, have become the most dreaded maladies because of no precise diagnostic tools or definite treatments for these debilitating diseases. The increased prevalence and a substantial impact on the social-economic and medical care of NDs propel governments to develop policies to counteract the impact. Although the etiologies of NDs are still unknown, growing evidence suggests that genetic, cellular and circuit alternations may cause the generation of abnormal misfolded proteins, which uncontrolledly accumulate to damage eventually overwhelms the protein-disposal mechanisms of these neurons, leading to a common pathological feature of NDs. If the functions and the connectivity can be restored, alterations and accumulated damages may improve. The gene-editing tools, including Zincfinger nucleases, Transcription activator-like effector nucleases, and Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats associated nucleases have emerged as a novel tool not only for generating specific ND animal models for interrogating the mechanisms and screening potential drugs against NDs, but also for the editing sequence-specific genes to help patients with NDs to regain the functions and connectivity. This review introduces the clinical manifestations of three distinct NDs and the applications of the gene-editing technology on these debilitating diseases.