Human embryonic stem cell-derived neurons as a tool for studying neuroprotection and neurodegeneration

Mol Neurobiol. 2010 Aug;42(1):97-102. doi: 10.1007/s12035-010-8136-2. Epub 2010 Apr 30.


The capacity to generate myriad differentiated cell types, including neurons, from human embryonic stem (hES) cell lines offers great potential for developing cell-based therapies and also for increasing our understanding of human developmental mechanisms. In addition, the emerging development of this technology as an experimental tool represents a potential opportunity for neuroscientists interested in mechanisms of neuroprotection and neurodegeneration. Potentially unlimited generation of well-defined functional neurons from hES and patient-specific induced pluripotent cells offers new systems to study disease mechanisms, signalling pathways and receptor pharmacology within a human cellular environment. Such systems may help in overcoming interspecies differences. Far from replacing rodent in vivo and primary culture systems, hES and induced disease-specific pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons offer a complementary resource to overcome issues of interspecies differences, accelerate drug discovery, study of disease mechanism and provide basic insight into human neuronal physiology.

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cytoprotection*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors