Reprogramming Cells to Regenerate

From Dr.Hans Keirstead presentation at Working 2 Walk Conference November 02, 2012.

Another major effort is to reprogram the astroglial scar.  This is different from development, which is a process of differentiation.  Pluripotent reprogamming is a process of doing that in reverse, and lineage reprogramming is turning one cell into another kind altogether.

What this means is taking astroglial cells from an SCI scar and turning back the clock so that they become like they were when they were young.  In their aged, scar phase they’re inhibitors — but in their young phase they’re  promoters of growth.

They started by establishing astrocyte cultures.  Then they chose some outcome measures, which in itself took a lot of doing. (He’s saying they needed reliable ways to know if they’d succeeded in turning back the clock.)  They landed on markers of proliferation, and what happens when ROCK is added to them, and laminin expression, and dorsal root ganglion neurite outgrowth, and migration — all of which show clear differences between old and young.

They treat their old astrocytes with factors that make them think they’re young, look young, act young.  The factors work.

This is evidence that they’ve succeeded — in a dish — in the goal of taking astroglial scars backwards and turning them from regeneration blockers to regenerations supporters.

(Next would be taking those newly rejuvenated astrocytes and seeing what happens when they’re given to animals with SCI.)

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