Neurological diseases, including dementias such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and fronto-temporal dementia (FTD) and degenerative motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), are responsible for an increasing fraction of worldwide fatalities. Researching these heterogeneous diseases requires models that endogenously express the full array of genetic and epigenetic factors which may influence disease development in both familial and sporadic patients. Here, we discuss the two primary methods of developing patient-derived neurons and glia to model neurodegenerative disease: reprogramming somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are differentiated into neurons or glial cells, or directly converting (DC) somatic cells into neurons (iNeurons) or glial cells. Distinct differentiation techniques for both models result in a variety of neuronal and glial cell types, which have been successful in displaying unique hallmarks of a variety of neurological diseases. Yield, length of differentiation, ease of genetic manipulation, expression of cell-specific markers, and recapitulation of disease pathogenesis are presented as determining factors in how these methods may be used separately or together to ascertain mechanisms of disease and identify therapeutics for distinct patient populations or for specific individuals in personalized medicine projects. © 2018 Ghaffari, Starr, Nelson and Sattler.
Recommended CitationGhaffari, Layla T.; Starr, Alexander; Nelson, Andrew T.; and Sattler, Rita, "Representing diversity in the dish: Using patient-derived in vitro models to recreate the heterogeneity of neurological disease" (2018). Department of Neurosciences Faculty Papers. Paper 30.
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