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Nat Neurosci. 2015 Mar;18(3):360-6. doi: 10.1038/nn.3944. Epub 2015 Feb 24.

Reprogramming patient-derived cells to study the epilepsies.

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Department of Neurology and Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Michigan Medical Center and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


The epilepsies and related disorders of brain circuitry present significant challenges associated with the use of human cells to study disease mechanisms and develop new therapies. Some of these obstacles are being overcome through the use of induced pluripotent stem cells to obtain patient-derived neural cells for in vitro studies and as a source of cell-based treatments. The field is evolving rapidly with the addition of genome-editing approaches and expanding protocols for generating different neural cell types and three-dimensional tissues, but the application of these techniques to neurological disorders, and particularly to the epilepsies, is in its infancy. We discuss the progress made and the distinct advantages and limitations of using patient-derived cells to study or treat epilepsy, as well as critical future directions for the field.

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