Skin Cells Turned into Brain Cells

Skin cells called fibroblasts can be transformed into neurons quickly and efficiently with just a few genetic tweaks, according to new research. The surprisingly simple conversion, which doesn’t require the cells to be returned to an embryonic state, suggests that differentiated adult cells are much more flexible than previously thought.

Cellular transformation: A cocktail of three genes can transform skin cells into neurons (shown here in red).

Credit: Thomas Vierbuchen

If the research, published in the journal Nature yesterday, can be repeated in human cells, it would provide an easier method for generating replacement neurons from individual patients. Brain cells derived from a skin graft would be genetically identical to the patient and therefore remove the risk of immune rejection–such an approach might one day be used to treat Parkinson’s or other neurodegenerative diseases.

“It’s almost scary to see how flexible these cell fates are,” says Marius Wernig, a biologist at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford, who led the research. “You just need a few factors, and within four to five days you see signs of neuronal properties in these cells.”

via Technology Review: Skin Cells Turned into Brain Cells.

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4 thoughts on “Skin Cells Turned into Brain Cells

  1. Pingback: Brain Cells from Mouse Tails?

  2. This article illustrates another recent movement toward the more practical aspects of achieving physical immortality. The experimental regeneration of damaged or diseased body parts such as liver and bladder, has been realized. This article points toward regeneration of brain cells, which lends hope toward a therapy for degenerative neurologic disease, and also for natural neuron loss with aging. Knowing that one’s cells could be regenerated into brain cells certainly provides an impetus for storage of self-tissue or self-cells. If there is not an immediate need for organ regeneration, but it could be desired or anticipated, then storage of an individual’s DNA and cells (www.ContinueMe.com ) should certainly be considered.

  3. godrealized

    More on how to become Immortal… can physical immortality be gained in human form… how dominating kundalini shakti and practicing celibacy human beings finally reached stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana)… became immortal… gained omniscience for all practical purposes!

    Who becomes immortal? One who after intense meditation is able to live longer compared to a normal human being or one, who does not have to manifest a body again and again and rests in peace in kingdom of god (termed Baikuntha in Hinduism)… not kingdom of heaven! Negating karma forever is reaching stage of immortality in human form!

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