• Fedele S, Collo G, Behr K, Bischofberger J, Müller S, Kunath T, Christensen K, Gündner AL, Graf M, Jagasia R, Taylor V.

Fedele, S. et al., Scientific Reports

Paper URL: Nature

Expansion of human midbrain floor plate progenitors from induced pluripotent stem cells increases dopaminergic neuron differentiation potential

Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are invaluable to study developmental processes and disease mechanisms particularly in the brain. hiPSCs can be differentiated into mature and functional dopaminergic (DA) neurons. Having robust protocols for the generation of differentiated DA neurons from pluripotent cells is a prerequisite for the use of hiPSCs to study disease mechanisms, for drug discovery, and eventually for cell replacement therapy. Here, we describe a protocol for generating and expanding large numbers of homogeneous midbrain floor plate progenitors (mFPPs) that retain efficient DA neurogenic potential over multiple passages and can be cryobanked. We demonstrate that expanded mFPPs have increased DA neuron potential and differentiate more efficiently and rapidly than progenitors generated by standard protocols. In addition, this novel method results in increased numbers of DA neurons that in vitro show characteristic electrophysiological properties of nigrostriatal DA neurons, produce high levels of dopamine, and integrate into host mice when grafted in vivo. Thus, we describe a robust method for producing human mesencephalic DA neurons from hiPSCs.

Key Findings

  • Human iPSC differentiation to mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons

  • Culture and expansion of dopaminergic progenitors