Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons and neural progenitors are great resources for studying neural development and differentiation and their disruptions in disease conditions, and hold the promise of future cell therapy. In general, iPSC lines can be established either specifically from patients with neuropsychiatric disorders or from healthy subjects. The iPSCs can then be induced to differentiate into neural lineages and the iPSC-derived neurons are valuable for various types of cell-based assays that seek to understand disease mechanisms and identify and test novel therapies. In addition, it is an ideal system for gene expression profiling (i.e., transcriptomic analysis), an efficient and cost-effective way to explore the genetic programs regulating neurodevelopment. Moreover, transcriptomic comparison, which can be performed between patient-derived samples and controls, or in control lines in which the expression of specific genes has been disrupted, can uncover convergent gene targets and pathways that are downstream of the hundreds of candidate genes that have been associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. The results, especially after integration with spatiotemporal transcriptomic profiles of normal human brain development, have indeed helped to uncover gene networks, molecular pathways, and cellular signaling that likely play critical roles in disease development and progression. On the other hand, despite the great promise, many challenges remain in the usage of iPSC-derived neurons for modeling neuropsychiatric disorders, for example, how to generate relatively homogenous populations of specific neuronal subtypes that are affected in a particular disorder and how to better address the genetic heterogeneity that exists in the patient population.
- Neuropsychiatric disorders
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology