Stem Cell

Spinning System Turns Stem Cells Into Mini-Brains

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute
Date Published: 
October 30, 2013
Abstract: 

Researchers have coaxed human stem cells to develop into simplified mini-brains, with regions resembling discrete brain structures, reported in the journal Nature. A spinning culture system prods stem cells to develop into neurons in three dimensions. The culture system is a gelatinous protein-rich mixture that provides both the structural support and nutrients required for neuronal development. Already, the researchers have shown that these artificial brains may model human disorders better than real mouse brains do.

Researchers Grow Large Batches of Neurons for Drug Screening

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute
Date Published: 
October 9, 2013
Abstract: 

Researchers have optimized the production from stem cells of large numbers of a subtype of neurons involved in cognitive function. These neurons express the chemical messenger glutamate and are implicated in cognitive disorders such as autism. This technique, published in Translational Psychiatry, could generate enough neurons for large-scale screening of drugs.

Derivation of Autism Spectrum Disorder-specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells

Source: 
Neuroscience Letters
Date Published: 
May 10, 2012
Abstract: 

"Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold tremendous potential both as a biological tool to uncover the pathophysiology of disease by creating relevant cell models and as a source of stem cells for cell-based therapeutic applications. Typically, iPSCs have been derived by the transgenic overexpression of transcription factors associated with progenitor cell or stem cell function in fibroblasts derived from skin biopsies. However, the need for skin punch biopsies to derive fibroblasts for reprogramming can present a barrier to study participation among certain populations of individuals, including children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). In addition, the acquisition of skin punch biopsies in non-clinic settings presents a challenge. One potential mechanism to avoid these limitations would be the use of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) as the source of the cells for reprogramming. In this article we describe, for the first time, the derivation of iPSC lines from PBMCs isolated from the whole blood of autistic children, and their subsequent differentiation in GABAergic neurons."

Autism Stem-Cell Therapy to Be Tested in Children in Trials

Source: 
Bloomberg
Date Published: 
August 21, 2012
Abstract: 

Sutter Neuroscience Institute and CBR (Cord Blood Registry) are launching the first FDA-approved clinical trial to assess the use of a child's own cord blood stem cells to treat select patients with autism.

NIMH’s Top 10 Research Advances of 2011

Source: 
NIMH
Date Published: 
December 23, 2011
Abstract: 

Director of the NIMH Dr. Tom Insel shares the NIMH's Top 10 Research Advances for 2011.

Investigating Synapse Formation and Function Using Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neurons

Source: 
PNAS, Kim et al.
Date Published: 
February 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Researchers at the University of California at San Diego established procedures for the induced differentiation of human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells into forebrain neurons that are capable of forming synaptic connections—communicating messages. The cells containing autism-associated mutations were not able to induce presynaptic differentiation in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons. Thus, autism-associated mutations hinder the ability of cells to trigger presynaptic differentiation—a crucial part of communication within the brain.

 

Modeling Autism in a Dish

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
November 12, 2010
Abstract: 

A collaborative effort between researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California, San Diego, successfully used human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells derived from patients with Rett syndrome to replicate autism in the lab and study the molecular pathogenesis of the disease.

Testing Autism Drugs in Human Brain Cells

Source: 
MIT Technology Review
Date Published: 
November 12, 2010
Abstract: 

A team from the University of California, San Diego, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies devised a way to study brain cells from patients with autism, and found a way reverse cellular abnormalities in neurons that have been associated with autism, specifically Rett Syndrome.

A Model for Neural Development and Treatment of Rett Syndrome Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Source: 
Cell, Marchetto et al
Date Published: 
November 2010
Year Published: 
2010

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are complex neurodevelopmental diseases in which different combinations of genetic mutations may contribute to the phenotype. Using Rett syndrome (RTT) as an ASD genetic model, we recapitulate early stages of a human neurodevelopmental disease, using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from RTT patients' fibroblasts, which essentially creates a "disease in a dish". The data uncovered early alterations in developing human RTT neurons and suggest evidence of an unexplored developmental window, before disease onset, in RTT syndrome where potential therapies could be successfully employed. Our model represents a promising cellular tool for drug screening, diagnosis and personalized treatment.