Parkinson's disease patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells free of viral reprogramming factors
Cell. 2009 Mar 6;136(5):964-77
The use of induced pluripotent stem cells derived from somatic cells of individual patients represents a powerful tool for biomedical research and may provide a tailor-made source of material for replacement therapies. However, there are major limitations in the current technology, not least the use of viruses as vectors to encode the reprogramming factors, since even low vector expression may alter the differentiation potential of the stem cells or induce malignant transformation. In this study, the authors demonstrate that fibroblasts from 5 patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease can be reprogrammed and subsequently differentiated into dopaminergic neurons. Moreover, induced pluripotent stem cells were derived free of reprogramming factors by using Cre-recombinase excisable viruses. These factor-free stem cells maintain their pluripotent state and show a global gene expression profile, similar to embryonic stem cells. Factor-free induced pluripotent stem cells therefore represent a more suitable source of cells than those containing viral vectors, and may also represent a significant advancement in the development of novel therapeutic options for patients with Parkinson’s disease.