Engineering new neurons: in vivo reprogramming in mammalian brain and spinal cord

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Neurons are postmitotic. Once lost because of injury or degeneration, they do not regenerate in most regions of the mammalian central nervous system. Recent advancements nevertheless clearly reveal that new neurons can be reprogrammed from non-neuronal cells, especially glial cells, in the adult mammalian brain and spinal cord. Here, we give a brief overview concerning cell fate reprogramming in vivo and then focus on the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms. Specifically, we critically review the cellular sources and the reprogramming factors for in vivo neuronal conversion. Influences of environmental cues and the challenges ahead are also discussed. The ability of inducing new neurons from an abundant and broadly distributed non-neuronal cell source brings new perspectives regarding regeneration-based therapies for traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries and degenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-212
Number of pages12
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Brain and spinal cord injury
  • Cell fate conversion
  • In vivo reprogramming
  • Neural regeneration
  • Neural repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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