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Stem Cells International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 382530, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/382530
Review Article

Applications of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells in Studying the Neurodegenerative Diseases

1Department of Neurology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
2State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Department of Neurobiology and Institutes of Brain Science, School of Basic Medical Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
3Department of Perinatal Medicine, Pregnancy Research Centre and University of Melbourne Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Women’s Hospital, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
4Shanghai Institute of Geriatrics, Huadong Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200040, China
5School of Acupuncture, Massage and Rehabilitation, Yunnan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kunming 650500, China

Received 27 September 2014; Accepted 5 December 2014

Academic Editor: Abhijit De

Copyright © 2015 Wenbin Wan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Neurodegeneration is the umbrella term for the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons. Incurable neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) show dramatic rising trends particularly in the advanced age groups. However, the underlying mechanisms are not yet fully elucidated, and to date there are no biomarkers for early detection or effective treatments for the underlying causes of these diseases. Furthermore, due to species variation and differences between animal models (e.g., mouse transgenic and knockout models) of neurodegenerative diseases, substantial debate focuses on whether animal and cell culture disease models can correctly model the condition in human patients. In 2006, Yamanaka of Kyoto University first demonstrated a novel approach for the preparation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which displayed similar pluripotency potential to embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Currently, iPSCs studies are permeating many sectors of disease research. Patient sample-derived iPSCs can be used to construct patient-specific disease models to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms of disease development and to test new therapeutic strategies. Accordingly, the present review will focus on recent progress in iPSC research in the modeling of neurodegenerative disorders and in the development of novel therapeutic options.