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Skin cells for the first time directly "transform" nerve cells


NEW YORK, Jan. 27 / PRNewswire-FirstCall / - Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine announced today that they have bypassed the steps to induce pluripotent stem cells in the experiment, turning the mouse skin cells into neurons for the first time. This result is important for understanding cell differentiation and regenerative medicine research.

The researchers first selected 19 genes associated with cell recombination or neurodevelopment, and then used lentivirus to implant these genes into skin cells from experimental mouse embryos. After 32 days, some of the skin cells began to transform into neurons. The researchers then screened out three genes and again used lentivirus to implant skin cells from the tail of adult rats. Within a week, about 20% of the mouse skin cells were transformed into nerve cells. These neurons can not only express neuromins, but also with the laboratory of other nerve cells to form synapses.

"We are amazed at the timing and efficiency of the transformation," says Marius Weinrich, an assistant professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine who led the study. "This is much simpler than the first step in transforming multifunctional stem cells."

Induction of pluripotent stem cells refers to somatic cells that reproduce "embryonic stem cells" by gene "re-arrangement" and thus have similar ability to differentiate embryonic stem cells. Cells that convert to specific functions generally take several weeks and the conversion rate is generally between 1% and 2% between.

In order to bypass the embryonic stem cell research has been facing ethical and legal aspects of many obstacles, induced multifunctional stem cell research has become one of the hot spots in recent years. The scientific community has previously agreed that the transformation of skin cells into other somatic cells is bound to undergo a multifunctional stem cell stage.

Werner believes that their research suggests that the multifunctional phase may be only one of the many states of the cell, and that is not the only way for skin cells to transform into other cells. Intercellular transformation "occupational" may not need to induce multifunctional Stem cells as "mediators".

It is important to find a gene combination that can induce the transformation of skin cells into other cells to understand cell differentiation and regenerative medicine. Owen Weissman, director of the Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute at Stanford University, said the study was "a huge leap" that provides a new way to study brain cell dysfunction, and scientists may eventually be able to To study Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease or hereditary psychosis.

The results of the study on the 27th published in the "Nature" magazine online version. The study is still in the animal research stage. But the researchers have decided to use human skin cells to carry out similar research.

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