Friday, September 03, 2010

Functional Motor Neuron Subtypes Generated from Embryonic Stem Cells

ScienceDaily (Sep. 2, 2010) — Scientists have devised a method for coaxing mouse embryonic stem cells into forming a highly specific motor neuron subtype. The research, published by Cell Press in the September 3rd issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell, provides new insight into motor neuron differentiation and may prove useful for devising and testing future therapies for motor neuron diseases.
Motor neurons in the spinal cord communicate with other neurons in the central nervous system and send long projections out to muscles, transmitting signals that are essential for proper control of movement and posture. Like other neuron classes, motor neurons are known to exhibit tremendous diversity. "The existence of dozens of muscle groups in the limbs of most mammals demands an equivalent diversity of motor neuron pool subtypes," explains the senior study author, Dr. Hynek Wichterle from Columbia University in New York.

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