Application of reprogrammed patient cells to investigate the etiology of neurological and psychiatric disorders

Kimberly M. Christian, Hongjun Song, Guo li Ming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cellular reprogramming allows for the de novo generation of human neurons and glial cells from patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders. Crucially, this technology preserves the genome of the donor individual and thus provides a unique opportunity for systematic investigation of genetic influences on neuronal pathophysiology. Although direct reprogramming of adult somatic cells to neurons is now possible, the majority of recent studies have used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from patient fibroblasts to generate neural progenitors that can be differentiated to specific neural cell types. Investigations of monogenic diseases have established proof-of-principle for many aspects of cellular disease modeling, including targeted differentiation of neuronal populations and rescue of phenotypes in patient iPSC lines. Refinement of protocols to allow for efficient generation of iPSC lines from large patient cohorts may reveal common functional pathology and genetic interactions in diseases with a polygenic basis. We review several recent studies that illustrate the utility of iPSC-based cellular models of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders to identify novel phenotypes and therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • iPSCs
  • neurodegeneration
  • neurodevelopment
  • reprogramming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Ecology


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