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Charlotte Greif

Creation of Pluripotent Stem Cells for Macrophage Delivery of Neurotrophic Factors in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Charlotte Greif

Mentor: Dr. Senlin Li

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that mainly hinders a person’s ability to speak and perform motor tasks. This disease is caused by a lack of dopamine in the substantia nigra due to a dearth of dopamenergic cells. The cause of Parkinson’s Disease is not yet known, but it has been linked to exposure to toxins or head trauma.
Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSC’s) are stem cells found in bone marrow. They are multipotent, so they can differentiate only into blood and immune system cells. HSC’s cannot regrow themselves over a period of time as efficiently as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSs) can. Under culture, HSC’s eventually begin to lose their ability to differentiate into healthy cells. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells are derived from somatic cells and are able to continuously regenerate themselves like embryonic stem cells. Kazutoshi and Shinya, who first created iPS cells, inserted factors into the adult and embryonic fibroblasts of mice and then cultured the cells. They named these cultured cells induced pluripotent stem cells. When the iPSs were injected into mice, they created tumors that contained cells from each germ layer. When the iPSs were introduced into mice blastocysts, they increased embryonic growth. iPS cells are important because they can differentiate into almost any tissue of the human body. Therefore, iPSs could potentially cure disease by regrowing areas of the body that are injured.

Collaborators: A Santacruz, Biju Chandu