Although embryonic stem (ES) cells have been induced to differentiate into diverse neuronal cell types, the production of cortical projection neurons with the correct morphology and axonal connectivity has not been demonstrated.
Here, we show that in vitro patterning is critical for generating neural precursor cells (ES-NPCs) competent to form cortical pyramidal neurons.
In a study at the University of California, San Diego and VA San Diego Healthcare, researchers were able to regenerate “an astonishing degree” of axonal growth at the site of severe spinal cord injury in rats. Their research revealed that early stage neurons have the ability to survive and extend axons to form new, functional neuronal relays across an injury site in the adult central nervous system (CNS).
The study also proved that at least some types of adult CNS axons can overcome a normally inhibitory growth environment to grow over long distances. Importantly, stem cells across species