About this Research Topic
Modeling neurological disorders has always been a particular challenge due to the complexity of the human central nervous system and its unique properties and abilities. Studying human neural cells in vitro has been impeded by the limited availability of suitable tissue (surgical specimens, abortion material).
The advent of cellular reprogramming protocols of somatic cell lines towards induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), induced neural stem cells (iNSC) or induced neurons (iN) has revolutionized the research on human neurological diseases. Especially for diseases with no appropriate animal models available, stem cell models represent an invaluable tool for experimental research.
Neurons derived from stem cell models might help to carve out new therapies either serving in drug tests or in restorative approaches of neurodegenerative diseases.
Establishing appropriate and relevant human stem cell based disease models requires advances on different levels: Firstly, neurons exhibiting a mature phenotype with similar properties as their counterparts in vivo have to be differentiated in a sufficiently large number. If neurons of a particular brain region are of special interest, efficient and reliable patterning protocols need to be established. If genetic changes play a role, they can either be corrected by genome editing in cells from patients or introduced in healthy cells. Finally, a robust pathological phenotype that can be studied in vitro and influenced by therapeutic approaches has to be demonstrated.
This Research Topic aims to cover all areas of research required for establishing stem cell based in vitro models of human neurological diseases as well as their application in developing new therapeutic approaches or replacement therapies. Original Research papers, Reviews or Methods on the following topics are welcome:
• Reprogramming of somatic human cell lines towards iPSC, iNSC, iN or other relevant cell types.
• Neural induction of iPSC lines and differentiation to relevant cell types of the central nervous system (neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes).
• Patterning protocols for particular brain regions.
• Genome editing for establishing or correcting particular relevant genetic changes.
• Characterizing disease-specific phenotypes of human stem cell models in vitro.
• Establishing new therapeutic approaches with the aid of stem cell based models of human neurological diseases.
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