Stem cells can now be reprogrammed to restore sensitivity

Eli and Edith Broad of the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research

at UCLAdeveloped a first-of-its-kind roadmap for stem cell reprogramming. Scientists have detailed how to turn them into sensory interneurons - cells that help to feel touch, pain and itching.

In a study conducted withUsing mouse embryonic stem cells, the scientists have also created a method to generate all types of sensory interneurons in the lab. As the authors of the new paper note, if their work can be replicated using human stem cells, it would be a key step towards developing a therapy to restore sensation in victims of spinal cord injury.

Sensory interneurons in the spinal cord respondfor transmitting sensory information from the entire body to the central nervous system. In 2018, the laboratory of senior author Samantha Butler, professor of neuroscience, became the first group to create sensory interneurons from human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. Then the scientists of the project figured out how to produce only some of their subtypes.

Now the scientists have presented detailed protocols.They can be used to direct stem cells to differentiate into each of the six subtypes of sensory interneurons. In addition, interneurons created using these protocols are genetically and molecularly indistinguishable from their real counterparts in the body. Therefore, scientists believe that the cells will have the same sensory functions.

Read more:

Physicists have found a universal "clock" in space: they are more accurate than atomic

Archaeologists have found drawings of creepy people with huge heads: who they were

The James Webb telescope took the first picture of Jupiter: it shows 9 moving targets at once