BAVARIAN RESEARCH ASSOCIATION FOR ADULT NEURONAL STEM CELLS
Differentiation of adult human astroglia into functional neurons
Field of work:Targeted programming or reprogramming of stem cells
Our laboratory pursues the possibility to reprogram endogenous astroglia to generate new neurons as a novel approach for cell-based therapy of neurodegenerative processes. Indeed we found that astroglia from the early postnatal cortex can be reprogrammed to generate functional synapse forming neurons by forced expression of neurogenic transcription factors known to play a crucial role in specifying neural stem and precursor cells towards neurogenesis during forebrain development. A principal question concerns the applicability of this approach to adult, including human, astroglia. Not unexpectedly, we observed that cultured adult astroglia is less amenable to reprogramming by single transcription factors. Thu,s we aim now at identifying novel factor combinations that would allow for an efficient reprogramming of adult astroglia towards neurogenesis. Specific candidates to be tested in combination with the already identified neurogenic factors include transcription factors known to play a fundamental role during early and late phases of forebrain development as well as adult neurogenesis.