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Johns Hopkins team creates stem cells from schizophrenia patients
Date:3/17/2011

ess and comparing it to the rate of efficiency of virally infected reprogrammed cells, which hovers at about 0.001 percent. "Human cells grow slowly, and this kind of reprogramming takes time."

However, the episomal vector method solves tricky problems associated with the more efficient viral approach, which involves inserting foreign genes into the cell's genome and potentially interrupting or influencing other genes that can change cell behavior. It also relieves worry about weird cell behavior later due to reactivation of introduced genes that remain in the genome, the researchers say.

The skin biopsy samples used in the study came from an American family first reported 25 years ago to have multiple family members affected with schizophrenia. A genetic analysis conducted by Margolis and colleagues six years ago discovered that a mutation in the DISC1 gene was common to all members of the family with severe mental illness. Two years ago, Margolis and Christopher A. Ross, M.D., Ph.D., director of the division of neurobiology, collected the skin samples and delivered them to Ming's team, which thus far has successfully reprogrammed two of those samples into the new iPS cell lines. Skin cell samples from the remaining family members, as well as from unrelated individuals with schizophrenia, are still works in progress in the Ming lab, potentially becoming additional stem cell lines, according to Ming.

First, using the cultured skin cells, the team delivered a package of so-called reprogramming factors into the cytoplasm as opposed to the nucleus, where the cell's genetic material resides via bits of DNA (episomal vectors) that are serially diluted during cell division after making their special delivery. These cells then were grown in culture while the scientists monitored them for changes.

It took a wildly variable window of time anywhere between three weeks and three months for the elongated and single-layered skin cells to b
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Contact: Maryalice Yakutchik
myakutc1@jhmi.edu
443-287-2251
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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