Developing Human Stem Cell Derived Motor Neuron Models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
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CitationSandoe, Jackson L. 2014. Developing Human Stem Cell Derived Motor Neuron Models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractHuman neurodegenerative disorders are among the most difficult to study. In particular, the inability to readily obtain the faulty cell types most relevant to these diseases has impeded progress for decades. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a late onset neurodegenerative disease in which the upper and lower motor neurons degenerate, leading to paralysis and eventually death. Recent advances in pluripotent stem cell technology now grant access to significant quantities of disease pertinent neurons both with and without predisposing mutations. The two studies described in this thesis demonstrate the feasibility of using MNs, generated from pluripotent stem cell lines harboring known ALS mutations, to establish in-vitro models of the disease. Specifically, we first used gene targeting to establish genetically controlled systems, able to identify causal relationships between a familial ALS mutation and in vitro phenotypes. Next, using transcriptional profiling, we identified novel pathways altered by the mutation and demonstrated functional consequences of these pathways' misregulation. Furthermore, by monitoring the physiology of the pluripotent stem cell derived MNs, we discovered an increased firing rate in the mutant MNs, and identified an FDA-approved drug, retigabine, capable of rescuing this defect. Lastly, to aid in the discovery of additional therapeutic compounds, we combined gene targeting, transcriptional profiling, and a fluorescent reporter human embryonic stem cell line to establish a well-controlled in vitro system capable of identifying genetic modifiers of the phenotypes described herein.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13070028
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