Blood cells turned into neurons. This will help in the treatment of diseases of the nervous system

In the early 21st century mass to obtain stem cells for research has been extremely problematic. Not to mention the development of new therapies. That all changed in the mid-noughties, when it was developed the method of “reprogramming” cells. In other words, from the cells of one species was other. Recently a group of researchers from Germany have successfully created from the blood cells and nerve cells. And they can be used in treating a variety of diseases of the nervous system and even be used in transplantation.

As the publication of Cell Stem Cell, scientists were able of the blood cells to make so-called induced stem cells (or iPS cells). These are cells which have properties of embryonic stem cells (i.e. can differentiate into cells of different tissues), but they are derived from somatic cells of the body. Simply put, from the cells of virtually any tissue. That in itself is not new, and iPS cells were created earlier. The main difference, as stated by lead author Andreas Trumpp, lies elsewhere.


“Previously created stem cells and nerve tissue is not suitable for medical purposes. It was a kind of “mixture”, which is simply not able to function as well as cells of the body.”

For their work, the scientists first used a well-known method to turn blood cells into embryonic stem cells, and then using genetic factors. (i)NBSCs and SCN9A, has forced them to differentiate into cells of nervous tissue.

The scheme of the reprogramming process and differentiation of cells

I want to add that this “focus” can be turned and the connective tissue cells. Thus the new technique could find wide application in regenerative medicine. On the one hand, it will be possible to repair the damaged neurons and neural connections in the main parts of the Central nervous system. On the other — to raise the individual parts of the peripheral nervous system, for example, the return of lost sensory or motor activity. This new fabric will not reject, because the fence needed cells will be taken from the patient.