Is-31: Pluripotent Stem Cell Technology for Myelin Repair

Tesar P *,


Stem cell biology has garnered much attention due to its potential to impact human health through disease modeling and cell replacement therapy. This is especially pertinent to myelin-related disorders such as multiple sclerosis and leukodystrophies where restoration of normal oligodendrocyte function could provide an effective treatment. Progress in myelin repair has been constrained by the difficulty in generating pure populations of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) in sufficient quantities. Pluripotent stem cells theoretically provide an unlimited source of OPCs but significant advances are currently hindered by heterogeneous differentiation strategies that lack reproducibility. We provide a platform for the directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells through a defined series of developmental transitions into a pure population of highly expandable OPCs in ten days. These OPCs robustly differentiate into myelinating oligodendrocytes both in vitro and in vivo. Our results demonstrate that pluripotent stem cells can provide a pure population of clinically- relevant, myelinogenic oligodendrocytes and offer a tractable platform for defining the molecular regulation of oligodendrocyte development, drug screening, and potential cell-based remyelinating therapies.