Scientists make cells that enable the sense of touch: Researchers are the first to create sensory interneurons from stem cells - (ScienceDaily via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Study data published in the journal Stem Cell Reports reveal a process through which stem cells can be induced to transform into sensory interneurons, ScienceDaily reported.

  • "The field has for a long time focused on making people walk again," noted study author Samantha Butler, adding "making people feel again doesn't have quite the same ring. But to walk, you need to be able to feel and to sense your body in space; the two processes really go hand in glove."

  • Based on prior findings in chicken embryos, Butler and colleagues exposed human stem cells to BMP4 and retinoic acid, obtaining a mixture of DI1 and Dl3 sensory interneurons.

  • The investigators also obtained the same mixture of sensory interneurons when induced pluripotent stem cells were subjected to the same treatment.

  • The researchers are currently injecting the obtained sensory interneurons into mouse spinal cords to clarify whether they integrate into the nervous system and become functioning cells.

  • "This is a long path," Butler said, continuing "we haven't solved how to restore touch but we've made a major first step by working out some of these protocols to create sensory interneurons."

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