Thinking out of the dish: what to learn about cortical development using pluripotent stem cells

Trends Neurosci. 2014 Jun;37(6):334-42. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2014.03.005. Epub 2014 Apr 15.


The development of the cerebral cortex requires the tightly coordinated generation of dozens of neuronal subtypes that will populate specific layers and areas. Recent studies have revealed how pluripotent stem cells (PSC), whether of mouse or human origin, can differentiate into a wide range of cortical neurons in vitro, which can integrate appropriately into the brain following in vivo transplantation. These models are largely artificial but recapitulate a substantial fraction of the complex temporal and regional patterning events that occur during in vivo corticogenesis. Here, we review these findings with emphasis on the new perspectives that they have brought for understanding of cortical development, evolution, and diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology*