Reprogramming “Support Cells” into Neurons
NG2 glia represent a promising target for neuronal cell replacement strategies to treat traumatic brain injury.
The portion of the adult brain responsible for complex thought, known as the cerebral cortex, lacks the ability to replace neurons that die as a result of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and other devastating diseases. A study in the journal Stem Cell Reports, published by Cell Press, shows that a Sox2 protein, alone or in combination with another protein, Ascl1, can cause nonneuronal cells, called NG2 glia, to turn into neurons in the injured cerebral cortex of adult mice. The findings by scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Helmholtz Zentrum München and LMU reveal that NG2 glia represent a promising target for neuronal cell replacement strategies to treat traumatic brain injury.