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Thread: Genes determining dopaminergic neurons may help produce such neurons from stem cells

  1. #1

    Genes determining dopaminergic neurons may help produce such neurons from stem cells
    Title Getting to the stem of a chronic problem
    Findings by leading European scientists, published in the latest issue of Cell, reveal critical factors determining the onset of Parkinson’s disease. The results, researchers say, could prove very useful in developing stem cell therapies aimed at beating this debilitating brain disease.
    Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden discovered something called a “master determinant” in the transformation of mouse embryonic stem cells into bona fide dopamine neurons, brain cells that degenerate in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
    The team discovered that two transcription-factor proteins, called Lmx1a and Msx1, are expressed in dopamine progenitor cells. Further analysis revealed that Lmx1 alone is able to provoke dopamine neuron generation in lab animal embryos. The authors also found that Lmx1a’s early behaviour actually triggers Msx1 activity, which leads to other events known to be important in the differentiation of these nerve cells. Importantly, they also observed that Lmx1a can induce dopamine neurons when expressed in stem cells, a finding that could one day potentially lead to therapeutic dopamine neurons being generated.
    Further study will show whether stem cell-derived neurons will work in treating rats with Parkinson’s disease. And follow-up tests will establish whether these findings in animals will hold for humans as well. The authors of the Cell paper acknowledge their contributors and funding organisations, which include the Swedish National Research Council, the Michael J Fox Foundation – set up by the American actor who suffers from Parkinson’s – and the European Community through network funding and a Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) project grant.

  2. #2
    Senior Member roshni's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Old Bridge, New Jersey, USA
    Interesting signal casacade they found for dopaminergic neuronal differentiation.

    Would be neat to see future studies evaluate extent of dendritic arborization in dopaminergic neurons as a result of Lmx1a and Msx1.
    Last edited by roshni; 02-03-2006 at 12:21 AM.

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