Making new neurons in the living brain

Science journalist Ed Yong reports on the    National Geographic blog about some recent, exciting results from NeuroStemcell’s principal investigator Malin Parmar and her group at the Lund University in Sweden. The team managed to  transform astrocytes (a type of supporting cells in the brain) into neurons directly within the brain of rats.

Yong correctly reports that   the NeuroStemcell group ” is reserved about their discovery. They haven’t shown that the new neurons can fit into existing circuits within the brain, let alone that they could replace lost neurons in a diseased brain. Still, it opens the door towards the prospect of reprogramming brain cells without the need for any transplants or surgeries”.

You can read his excellent report (with useful background on the field )

The original scientific work is published on the peer-reviewed journal PNAS

(Reference: Torper, Pfisterer, Wolf, Pereira, Lau, Jakobsson, Bjorklund, Grealish  & Parmar. 2013. Generation of induced neurons via direct conversion in vivo.