Current State-of-the-Art and Unresolved Problems in Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Dopamine Neurons for Parkinson's Disease Drug Development


Human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have the potential to give rise to a new era in Parkinson's disease (PD) research. As a unique source of midbrain dopaminergic (DA) neurons, iPS cells provide unparalleled capabilities for investigating the pathogenesis of PD, the development of novel anti-parkinsonian drugs, and personalized therapy design. Significant progress in developmental biology of midbrain DA neurons laid the foundation for their efficient derivation from iPS cells. The introduction of 3D culture methods to mimic the brain microenvironment further expanded the vast opportunities of iPS cell-based research of the neurodegenerative diseases. However, while the benefits for basic and applied studies provided by iPS cells receive widespread coverage in the current literature, the drawbacks of this model in its current state, and in particular, the aspects of differentiation protocols requiring further refinement are commonly overlooked. This review summarizes the recent data on general and subtype-specific features of midbrain DA neurons and their development. Here, we review the current protocols for derivation of DA neurons from human iPS cells and outline their general weak spots. The associated gaps in the contemporary knowledge are considered and the possible directions for future research that may assist in improving the differentiation conditions and increase the efficiency of using iPS cell-derived neurons for PD drug development are discussed.

Authors Antonov SA, Novosadova EV
Journal International journal of molecular sciences
Publication Date 2021 Mar 25;22(7)
PubMed 33806103
PubMed Central PMC8037675
DOI 10.3390/ijms22073381

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