MedicalXpress reveals a new source for nerve cells without stem cells – making neurons from liver cells:
Fully mature liver cells from laboratory mice have been transformed directly into functional neurons by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The switch was accomplished with the introduction of just three genes….
“These liver cells unambiguously cross tissue-type boundaries to become fully functional neural cells,” said Marius Wernig, MD, PhD assistant professor of pathology and a member of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. “Even more surprising, these cells also simultaneously silence their liver-gene expression profile. They are not hybrids; they are completely switching their identities.”
The cells make the change without first becoming a pluripotent type of stem cell — a step long thought to be required for cells to acquire new identities.
They inserted three genes by using a virus. The transformed cells still had traces of their origins, but they never did anything the slightest bit liverish. Just sat there transmitting signals like any other nerve….