Deriving Schwann cells from hPSCs in drug discovery for diabetic peripheral neuropathy – Biopodia
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Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is a debilitating complication that affects about 40% of people with diabetes mellitus and constitutes a major cause of hospital admissions among these patients. DPN is characterized by the progressive degeneration of peripheral nerves, leading to various complications such as sensory and motor dysfunction and an increased risk of skin ulcers. The pathogenesis of DPN is multifactorial, involving a combination of vascular disease, chronic hyperglycemia, hypoxia, and oxidative stress. However, the cellular mechanisms underlying DPN remain unclear, which presents a challenge for developing effective interventions to prevent and treat this condition. Schwann cells, a vital component of the peripheral nervous system, have emerged as candidate components in the pathogenesis of DPN. Here, Majd and colleagues developed a strategy for deriving Schwann cells from human pluripotent stem cells. They used this model to unravel the role of Schwann cells in the pathophysiology of DPN and to conduct a high-throughput screen of drugs for treating sensory neuropathy in a mouse model of DPN. Their findings, with promising translational implications, were published in 2023 in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Adapted from: Majd et al, Cell Stem Cell. 2023 May 4;30(5):632-647.e10. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2023.04.006.

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