A team at Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis (Missouri), has succeeded in transforming skin cells into motor neurones whilst avoiding “recourse to human stem cells and related ethical problems”.
Scientists achieved this result by adding “various combinations of biological molecules present in the brain” to skin cell cultures. The correct cocktail of molecules “programmes genes to fold up the genetic instructions for making skin and unfurl those for making motor neurones”. This process takes approximately 30 days.
Their results, published in the Cell Stem Cell journal, should now be confirmed by comparing “in detail” naturally transformed motor neurones. This allows motor neurones to be studied in vitro. These cells are affected by Huntington’s disease or Charcot’s disease.
Le Figaro santé, Jean-Luc Nothias (11/09/2017)