A Monolayer System for the Efficient Generation of Motor Neuron Progenitors and Functional Motor Neurons from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

Alessandro Cutarelli, Vladimir A Martínez-Rojas, Alice Tata, Ingrid Battistella, Daniela Rossi, Daniele Arosio, Carlo Musio, Luciano Conti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Methods for the conversion of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) into motor neurons (MNs) have opened to the generation of patient-derived in vitro systems that can be exploited for MN disease modelling. However, the lack of simplified and consistent protocols and the fact that hiPSC-derived MNs are often functionally immature yet limit the opportunity to fully take advantage of this technology, especially in research aimed at revealing the disease phenotypes that are manifested in functionally mature cells. In this study, we present a robust, optimized monolayer procedure to rapidly convert hiPSCs into enriched populations of motor neuron progenitor cells (MNPCs) that can be further amplified to produce a large number of cells to cover many experimental needs. These MNPCs can be efficiently differentiated towards mature MNs exhibiting functional electrical and pharmacological neuronal properties. Finally, we report that MN cultures can be long-term maintained, thus offering the opportunity to study degenerative phenomena associated with pathologies involving MNs and their functional, networked activity. These results indicate that our optimized procedure enables the efficient and robust generation of large quantities of MNPCs and functional MNs, providing a valid tool for MNs disease modelling and for drug discovery applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCells
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 7 2021

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