The loss of neurons due to injury and disease results in a wide spectrum of highly disabling neurological and neurodegenerative conditions, given the apparent limited capacity of endogenous repair of the adult central nervous system (CNS). Therefore, it is important to develop technologies that can promote de novo neural stem cell and neuron generation. Current insights in CNS development and cellular reprogramming have provided the knowledge to finely modulate lineage-restricted transcription factors and microRNAs (miRNA) to elicit correct neurogenesis. Here, we discuss the current knowledge on the direct reprogramming of somatic non-neuronal cells into neural stem cells or subtype specific neurons in vitro and in vivo focusing on miRNA driven reprogramming. miRNA can allow rapid and efficient direct phenotype conversion by modulating gene networks active during development, which promote global shifts in the epigenetic landscape pivoting cell fate decisions. Furthermore, we critically present state-of-the-art and recent advances on miRNA therapeutics that can be applied to the diseased CNS. Together, the advances in our understanding of miRNA role in CNS development and disease, recent progress in miRNA-based therapeutic strategies, and innovative drug delivery methods create novel perspectives for meaningful therapies for neurodegenerative disorders.
- Neural stem cells
- Neuronal repair
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience