Aberrant iPSC-derived human astrocytes in Alzheimer's disease

Jones, Vicky Claire orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8401-5223, Atkinson-Dell, Rebecca, Verkhratsky, Alexei and Mohamet, Lisa (2017) Aberrant iPSC-derived human astrocytes in Alzheimer's disease. Cell Death and Disease, 8 . e2696. ISSN 2041-4889

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Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1038/cddis.2017.89


The pathological potential of human astroglia in Alzheimer's disease (AD) was analysed in vitro using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology. Here, we report development of a human iPSC-derived astrocyte model created from healthy individuals and patients with either early-onset familial AD (FAD) or the late-onset sporadic form of AD (SAD). Our chemically-defined and highly efficient model provides >95% homogeneous populations of human astrocytes within 30 days of differentiation from cortical neural progenitor cells (NPCs). All astrocytes expressed functional markers including; glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), excitatory amino acid transporter 1 (EAAT1), S100B and glutamine synthetase (GS) comparable to that of adult astrocytes in vivo. However, induced astrocytes derived from both SAD and FAD patients exhibit a pronounced pathological phenotype, with a significantly less complex morphological appearance, overall atrophic profiles, and abnormal localisation of key functional astroglial markers. Furthermore, NPCs derived from identical patients did not show any differences, therefore, validating that remodelled astroglia are not as a result of defective neuronal intermediates. This work not only presents a novel model to study the mechanisms of human astrocytes in vitro, but also provides an ideal platform for further interrogation of early astroglial cell-autonomous events in AD and the possibility of identification of novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of AD.

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