Research Article

In vivo modeling of human neuron dynamics and Down syndrome

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Science  16 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6416, eaau1810
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau1810

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Development of human brain neurons

The earliest stages of human brain development are very difficult to monitor, but using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can help to elucidate the process. Real et al. transplanted neural progenitors derived from human iPSCs into the brains of adult mice. They used intravital imaging to visualize how resulting neurons grew and connected. The human cells produced neurons that integrated and developed synaptic networks with oscillatory activity. Dendritic pruning was observed and involved a process of branch retraction, not degeneration. Cells derived from individuals with Down syndrome, upon transplantation into the mouse brain, produced neurons that grew normally but showed reduced dendritic spine turnover and less network activity.

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