Differentiation of Glial Cells From hiPSCs: Potential Applications in Neurological Diseases and Cell Replacement Therapy.
Glial cells are the most abundant cell type in the central nervous system (CNS) and play essential roles in maintaining brain homeostasis, forming myelin, and providing support and protection for neurons, etc. Over the past decade, significant progress has been made in the reprogramming field. Given the limited accessibility of human glial cells, in vitro differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) into glia may provide not only a valuable research tool for a better understanding of the functions of glia in the CNS but also a potential cellular source for clinical therapeutic purposes. In this review, we will summarize up-to-date novel strategies for the committed differentiation into the three major glial cell types, i.e., astrocyte, oligodendrocyte, and microglia, from hiPSCs, focusing on the non-neuronal cell effects on the pathology of some representative neurological diseases. Furthermore, the application of hiPSC-derived glial cells in neurological disease modeling will be discussed, so as to gain further insights into the development of new therapeutic targets for treatment of neurological disorders.