Need a neuron? Make it out of urine!
Really, really interesting new report in Nature Methods about work from a team at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health in China, who “have found a relatively straightforward way to persuade the cells discarded in human urine to turn into valuable neurons.” From the abstract:
Human neural stem cells hold great promise for research and therapy in neural disease. We describe the generation of integration-free and expandable human neural progenitor cells (NPCs). We combined an episomal system to deliver reprogramming factors with a chemically defined culture medium to reprogram epithelial-like cells from human urine into NPCs (hUiNPCs). These transgene-free hUiNPCs can self-renew and can differentiate into multiple functional neuronal subtypes and glial cells in vitro. Although functional in vivo analysis is still needed, we report that the cells survive and differentiate upon transplant into newborn rat brain.
Amazing times we live in, eh?