Expert Review

An update on stem cell biology and engineering for brain development

  • Molecular Psychiatry volume 22, pages 808819 (2017)
  • doi:10.1038/mp.2017.66
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Abstract

Two recent technologies, induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and direct somatic reprogramming, have shown enormous potential for cell-based therapies against intractable diseases such as those that affect the central nervous system. Already, methods that generate most major cell types of the human brain exist. Whether the cell types are directly reprogrammed from human somatic cells or differentiated from an iPSC intermediate, the overview presented here demonstrates how these protocols vary greatly in their efficiencies, purity and maturation of the resulting cells. Possible solutions including micro-RNA switch technologies that purify target cell types are also outlined. Further, an update on the transition from 2D to 3D cultures and current organoid (mini-brain) cultures are reviewed to give the stem cell and developmental engineering communities an up-to-date account of the progress and future perspectives for modeling of central nervous system disease and brain development in vitro.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Asuka Morizane and Peter Karagiannis (CiRA, Kyoto University) for reading and editing the manuscript. We also thank Masaya Todani (CiRA, Kyoto University) for the figures. This work was supported by the CiRA Research Fund for Internationalization.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Life Science Frontiers, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

    • C J C Parr
    • , S Yamanaka
    •  & H Saito
  2. Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, San Francisco, CA, USA

    • S Yamanaka

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Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to H Saito.