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In vivo reprogramming of astrocytes to neuroblasts

Mouse studies suggest proliferating neuroblasts generated in vivo from reprogrammed astrocytes could help treat CNS injury or degeneration. In mouse striatum, astrocyte-specific expression of the Sox2 transcription factor converted astrocytes into proliferating neuroblasts. In these mice, coexpression of Sox2 with brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) and noggin (Nog) or treatment with valproic acid induced neuroblasts to mature and integrate into neural networks. Next steps include using the method to differentiate the cells into specific, therapeutically relevant neuronal subtypes.

SciBX 6(41); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.1175
Published online Oct. 24, 2013

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Niu, W. et al. Nat. Cell Biol.; published online Sept. 22, 2013;
Contact: Chun-Li Zhang, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas