For the first time, researchers have transplanted neural cells derived from a monkey's skin into its brain and watched the cells develop into several types of mature brain cells.
In the research, iPS cells were converted into neural progenitor cells. The intermediate-stage cells have the ability to further specialize into neurons that carry nerve signals, and glial cells that perform support and nutritional functions. This final stage of maturation occurred inside the three rhesus monkeys used in the experiment.
The rhesus monkeys used in the study at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center had a lesion in a brain region that causes the movement disorder Parkinson's disease, which afflicts up to 1 million Americans. Parkinson's is caused by the death of a small number of neurons that make dopamine, a signaling chemical used in the brain.
Adapted from the University of Wisconsin announcement. Read further here.