Cellular reprogramming: a novel tool for investigating autism spectrum disorders
ABSTRACT Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairment in reciprocal social interaction and communication, as well as the manifestation of stereotyped behaviors. Despite much effort, ASDs are not yet fully understood. Advanced genetics and genomics technologies have recently identified novel ASD genes, and approaches using genetically engineered murine models or postmortem human brain have facilitated understanding ASD. Reprogramming somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provides unprecedented opportunities in generating human disease models. Here, we present an overview of applying iPSCs in developing cellular models for understanding ASD. We also discuss future perspectives in the use of iPSCs as a source of cell therapy and as a screening platform for identifying small molecules with efficacy for alleviating ASD.
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ABSTRACT: Nuclear transplantation, cell fusion, and induced pluripotent stem cell studies have revealed a surprising degree of plasticity in mature mammalian cell fates. Somatic cell reprogramming has recently also been achieved by the directed conversion of non-neuronal somatic cells, such as skin fibroblasts, to neuronal phenotypes. This approach appears particularly applicable to the in vitro modeling of human neurological disorders. CNS neurons are otherwise difficult to obtain from patients suffering neurological disorders, whereas non-human models may not reflect patient pathology. Furthermore, somatic cell reprogramming may afford models of non-familial ‘sporadic’ neurological disorders, that are likely caused by multiple interacting genetic and non-genetic factors. Directed somatic cell reprogramming, which does not pass through typical in vivo developmental stages, has now been described towards a number of mature neuronal phenotypes. We herein review the field and discuss the potential utilities of such models, such as for the development of ‘personalized medicine’ strategies.
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ABSTRACT: Recent progress in the field of cellular reprogramming has opened up the doors to a new era of disease modelling, as pluripotent stem cells representing a myriad of genetic diseases can now be produced from patient tissue. These cells can be expanded and differentiated to produce a potentially limitless supply of the affected cell type, which can then be used as a tool to improve understanding of disease mechanisms and test therapeutic interventions. This process requires high levels of scrutiny and validation at every stage, but international standards for the characterisation of pluripotent cells and their progeny have yet to be established. Here we discuss the current state of the art with regard to modelling diseases affecting the ectodermal, mesodermal and endodermal lineages, focussing on studies which have demonstrated a disease phenotype in the tissue of interest. We also discuss the utility of pluripotent cell technology for the modelling of cancer and infectious disease. Finally, we spell out the technical and scientific challenges which must be addressed if the field is to deliver on its potential and produce improved patient outcomes in the clinic.Current Gene Therapy 02/2013; 13(2). DOI:10.2174/1566523211313020004 · 2.54 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology is providing an opportunity to study neuropsychiatric disorders through the capacity to grow patient-specific neurons in vitro. Skin fibroblasts obtained by biopsy have been the most reliable source of cells for reprogramming. However, using other somatic cells obtained by less invasive means would be ideal, especially in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental conditions. In addition to fibroblasts, iPSCs have been developed from cord blood, lymphocytes, hair keratinocytes, and dental pulp from deciduous teeth. Of these, dental pulp would be a good source for neurodevelopmental disorders in children because obtaining material is non-invasive. We investigated its suitability for disease modeling by carrying out gene expression profiling, using RNA-seq, on differentiated neurons derived from iPSCs made from dental pulp extracted from deciduous teeth (T-iPSCs) and fibroblasts (F-iPSCs). This is the first RNA-seq analysis comparing gene expression profiles in neurons derived from iPSCs made from different somatic cells. For the most part, gene expression profiles were quite similar with only 329 genes showing differential expression at a nominally significant p-value (p<0.05), of which 63 remained significant after correcting for genome-wide analysis (FDR <0.05). The most striking difference was the lower level of expression detected for numerous members of the all four HOX gene families in neurons derived from T-iPSCs. In addition, an increased level of expression was seen for several transcription factors expressed in the developing forebrain (FOXP2, OTX1, and LHX2, for example). Overall, pathway analysis revealed that differentially expressed genes that showed higher levels of expression in neurons derived from T-iPSCs were enriched for genes implicated in schizophrenia (SZ). The findings suggest that neurons derived from T-iPSCs are suitable for disease-modeling neuropsychiatric disorder and may have some advantages over those derived from F-iPSCs.PLoS ONE 10/2013; 8(10):e75682. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0075682 · 3.23 Impact Factor