In vitro culturing conditions for human pluripotent stem cell –derived neural cells

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Arvo building, auditorium F114, address: Lääkärinkatu 1.

Doctoral defence of M.Sc. Anu Hyysalo

In vitro culturing conditions for human pluripotent stem cell –derived neural cells: Tissue engineering applications for spinal cord injury repair

The field of science of the dissertation is Cell and Tissue Technology.

The opponent is associate professor Anna Falk (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden). Docent Susanna Narkilahti acts as the custos.

The language of the dissertation defence is English.

Development of stem cell –derived neural cell culture conditions and their applications for spinal cord injury tissue engineering

Spinal cord injury (SCI) describes a damage to the spinal cord that can lead to the loss of muscle function, sensation, or autonomic functions to different extents. The symptoms of SCI are highly variable ranging from pain or numbness to paralysis. Rehabilitation exercises and physical therapy may have some beneficial effects on the restoring of motion, but currently no efficient recovering treatment for SCI exists. Due to the limited regeneration capacity of the cells in the central nervous system, stem cell-based replacement therapies have been extensively studied for SCI repair.

Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are capable of self-renewal and differentiation into any cell type found in the human body. hPSCs include embryonic stem cells, which are derived from the embryonic inner cell mass, as well as induced pluripotent stem cells, derived from somatic cells via reprogramming using specific transcription factors to induce pluripotency. In laboratory conditions (in vitro), hPSCs can be directed to differentiate into the main cell types of the central nervous system, neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. hPSC-derived neural cells provide an excellent approach to model central nervous system development, deficits, and diseases in vitro and furthermore treat injuries and degenerative conditions by replacing damaged tissues.

This thesis focused on studying various aspects, including genetic background as well as chemical and mechanical inductions, of hPSC-derived neural cell differentiation and behavior in vitro. Cells and culturing conditions studied and developed in this thesis can be further applied for the development of functional cell grafts for SCI repair.

The dissertation is published in the publication series of Acta Universitatis Tamperensis; 2278, Tampere University Press, Tampere 2017. The dissertation is also published in the e-series Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis; 1780, Tampere University Press 2017.

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