Conversion of pericytes to neurons: A new guest at the reprogramming convention

Emmanuel Nivet*, Ignacio Sancho-Martinez, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Reprogramming strategies allow for the generation of virtually any cell type of the human body, which could be useful for cell-based therapy. Among the different reprogramming technologies available, direct lineage conversion offers the possibility to change the phenotype of a cell type to another one without pushing cells backwards to a plastic/proliferative stage. This approach has raised the possibility to apply a similar process in vivo in order to compensate for functional cell loss. Historically, the cerebral tissue is a prime choice for developing cell-based treatments. As local pericyte accumulation is observed after central nervous system injury, it can be reasoned that this cell type might be a good candidate for the conversion into new neurons in vivo. In this article, and by focusing on recent observations from Karow and colleagues demonstrating the possibility to convert human brain-derived pericytes into functional neurons, we present a brief overview of the state of the art and attempt to offer perspective as to how these interesting laboratory findings could be translated in the clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank May Schwarz for administrative support. The laboratory of JCIB is supported by grants from Fundacion Cellex, CIBER the G Harold and Leila Y Mathers Charitable Foundation, The Leona M and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust, and MINECO.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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