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In vivo Chemical Reprogramming of Astrocytes into Functional Neurons

By Yantao Ma, Handan Xie, Xiaomin Du, Lipeng Wang, Xueqin Jin, Shicheng Sun, Yanchuang Han, Yawen Han, Jun Xu, Zhuo Huang, Zhen Chai, Hongkui Dengi

Posted 20 Apr 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/305185

Mammals lack robust regenerative abilities. Lost cells in impaired tissue could potentially be compensated by converting nearby cells in situ through in vivo reprogramming. Small molecule-induced reprogramming is a spatiotemporally flexible and non-integrative strategy for altering cell fate, which is, in principle, favorable for the in vivo reprogramming in organs with poor regenerative abilities, such as the brain. Here, we demonstrate that in the adult mouse brain, small molecules can reprogram resident astrocytes into functional neurons. The in situ chemically induced neurons (CiNs) resemble endogenous neurons in terms of neuron-specific marker expression and electrophysiological properties. Importantly, these CiNs can integrate into the mouse brain. Our study, for the first time, demonstrates in vivo chemical reprogramming in the adult brain, which could be a novel path for generating desired cells in situ for regenerative medicine.

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