Glia have been known for its pivotal roles in physiological and pathological conditions in the nervous system. To study glial biology, multiple approaches have been applied to utilize glial cells for research, including stem cell-based technologies. Human glial cells differentiated from pluripotent stem cells are now available, allowing us to study the structural and functional roles of glia in the nervous system, although the efficiency is still low. Direct conversion is an advanced strategy governing fate conversion of diverse cell types directly into the desired lineage. This novel strategy stands as a promising approach for preliminary research and regenerative medicine. Direct conversion employs genetic and environmental cues to change cell fate to that with the required functional cell properties while retaining maturity-related molecular features. As an alternative method, it is now possible to obtain a variety of mature cell populations that could not be obtained using conventional differentiation methods. This review summarizes current achievements in obtaining glia, particularly oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells.
Keywords: Differentiation; Direct conversion; Disease modeling; Oligodendrocyte; Schwann cell.