Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. Despite being one of the most studied neural pathologies, there is no cure to prevent or restore the loss of these cells. One of the critical limitations to have successful treatments is the lack of models that faithfully reproduce the human disease. In recent years, the advancements in the use of human iPSC from patients have allowed to develop human models that can reproduce specific traits of human diseases that are difficult to study. Here, human iPSC coming from Parkinson's patients are differentiated in a microfluidic system that allows the 3D culture and in situ characterization of the cells. The results show that after 30 days of differentiation, the efficiency was similar to other usually used protocols and produced tyrosine hydroxylase positive cells that were electrophysiologically active. The researchers develop in this study a new model that integrates the generation of human iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons in a microfluidic system that could be used to systematically characterize patient-derived cells and help to develop personalized therapies for Parkinson's disease.
Differentiation of neuroepithelial stem cells into functional dopaminergic neurons in 3D microfluidic cell culture
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