Progress for Parkinson’s? Successful implantation of reprogrammed neurons

Written by Alexandra Thompson

Scientists at Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg have successfully integrated functional neurons reprogrammed from skin cells into mouse brains, with long-term stability.

It is hoped that stem cell therapy may provide a treatment option for neurodegenerative diseases, many of which have no cure. Research by the LCSB research group may be a step in the right direction of a successful treatment, as they managed to implant neural cells reprogrammed in vitro from the mouse host’s own skin cells (known as induced neuronal stem cells or iNSCs) into the hippocampus and cortex regions of the mouse brain, with stability and functionality 6 months following transplantation.

The implanted neurons were fully integrated into the complex network of the brain, forming normal synapses with original neuronal cells and exhibiting normal activity. It is therefore hoped that scientists could generate healthy iNSCs specific to the types of cells that are lost in neurodegenerative diseases, such as the dopamine-producing neurons lost in Parkinson’s disease, and implant them into patients in order to replace the diseased cells, thereby offering an actual cure for these diseases.

What do you think — can we generate healthy replicates of the neural cells lost in neurodegenerative diseases? Does this look like this could become a promising treatment option?

See the full press release here.