Differentiation of control and ALS mutant human iPSCs into functional skeletal muscle cells, a tool for the study of neuromuscolar diseases
OPEN Stem cell research | 19 Jun 2016
J Lenzi, F Pagani, R De Santis, C Limatola, I Bozzoni, S Di Angelantonio and A Rosa
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a severe and fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive loss of motoneurons, muscle atrophy and paralysis. Recent evidence suggests that ALS should be considered as a multi-systemic disease, in which several cell types contribute to motoneuron degeneration. In this view, mutations in ALS linked genes in other neural and non-neural cell types may exert non-cell autonomous effects on motoneuron survival and function. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) have been recently derived from several patients with ALS mutations and it has been shown that they can generate motoneurons in vitro, providing a valuable tool to study ALS. However, the potential of iPSCs could be further valorized by generating other cell types that may be relevant to the pathology. In this paper, by taking advantage of a novel inducible system for MyoD expression, we show that both control iPSCs and iPSCs carrying mutations in ALS genes can generate skeletal muscle cells. We provide evidence that both control and mutant iPSC-derived myotubes are functionally active. This in vitro system will be instrumental to dissect the molecular and cellular pathways impairing the complex motoneuron microenvironment in ALS.
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