All Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) Are Not Created Equal

May 26, 2011   

A recent study shows that the ability of nerve cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to function in the body may vary according to the method used to generate the iPSCs from adult stem cells. As we previously reported, iPSCs are adult stem cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to have the pluripotency character of embryonic stem cells. In the current study, a team based in the Republic of Korea and the United States has found that neurons and neural precursor cells (NPCs) demonstrated residual expression of exogenous reprogramming genes, early senescence, and apoptotic cell death when derived from virally reprogrammed iPSCs. However, NPCs and dopamine neurons were highly expandable and exhibited gene expression and other properties similar to those of the brains own dopamine neurons when derived from iPSCs generated using a protein reprogramming technique. These NPCs and dopamine neurons also restored motor deficits in rats with Parkinson disease.

According to the authors of the study, “[o]ur results suggest that protein-based reprogramming may be a viable approach for generating a patient-specific source of cells for treatment of [Parkinson disease] and other degenerative diseases.” We will continue to monitor the progress that scientists are making with induced pluripotent stem cells and other stem cells. For more information contact us at