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Open Access Direct Reprogramming of Adult Somatic Cells Into Other Lineages: Past Evidence and Future Perspectives

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Direct reprogramming of an adult cell into another differentiated lineage—such as fibroblasts into neurons, cardiomyocytes, or blood cells—without passage through an undifferentiated pluripotent stage is a new area of research that has recently emerged alongside stem cell technology and induced pluripotent stem cell reprogramming; indeed, this avenue of investigation has begun to play a central role in basic biological research and regenerative medicine. Even though the field seems new, its origins go back to the 1980s when it was demonstrated that differentiated adult cells can be converted into another cell lineage through the overexpression of transcription factors, establishing mature cell plasticity. Here, we retrace transdifferentiation experiments from the discovery of master control genes to recent in vivo reprogramming of one somatic cell into another from the perspective of possible applications for the development of new therapeutic approaches for human diseases.

Keywords: Direct reprogramming; Gene expression; Transdifferentiation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Neurological Sciences, Dino Ferrari Centre, University of Milan, IRCCS Foundation Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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