Brain cells called pericytes can be reprogrammed into neurons with just two proteins, pointing to a novel way to treat neurodegenerative disorders.
Making new neurons in the brain may not be as hard as once believed. Using just two proteins and without any cell divisions, scientists from Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich succeeded in reprogramming brain cells known as pericytes into neurons in both cultured cells from humans and mice. The findings, published today (October 4) in Cell Stem Cell, could have implications for patients with degenerative brain disorders.
“We are not there yet, but the hope is that we can eventually treat neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s by in situ reprogramming,” said Ludwig-Maximilians’ Benedikt Berninger, lead author on the study.
Since 2011, other scientists including Marius Wernig, a stem cell biologist from the Stanford School of Medicine, have transformed skin cells directly into neurons using three or four proteins…