GABAergic interneuron transplants to study development and treat disease

Trends Neurosci. 2014 Mar;37(3):169-77. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2014.01.003. Epub 2014 Feb 7.


Advances in stem cell technology have engendered keen interest in cell-based therapies for neurological disorders. Postnatal engraftments of most neuronal precursors result in little cellular migration, a crucial prerequisite for transplants to integrate within the host circuitry. This may occur because most neurons migrate along substrates, such as radial glial processes, that are not abundant in adults. However, cortical GABAergic interneurons migrate tangentially from the subcortical forebrain into the cerebral cortex. Accordingly, transplants of cortical interneuron precursors migrate extensively after engraftment into a variety of CNS tissues, where they can become synaptically connected with host circuitry. We review how this remarkable ability to integrate post-transplant is being applied to the development of cell-based therapies for a variety of CNS disorders.

Keywords: GABAergic interneurons; cell-based therapy; cortical development; fate determination; neurological disease; transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Tissue Transplantation*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • GABAergic Neurons / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / transplantation*
  • Neural Stem Cells / transplantation*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*