In vivo conversion of astrocytes to neurons in the injured adult spinal cord

Zhida Su, Wenze Niu, Meng Lu Liu, Yuhua Zou, Chun Li Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

293 Scopus citations


Spinal cord injury (SCI) leads to irreversible neuronal loss and glial scar formation, which ultimately result in persistent neurological dysfunction. Cellular regeneration could be an ideal approach to replenish the lost cells and repair the damage. However, the adult spinal cord has limited ability to produce new neurons. Here we show that resident astrocytes can be converted to doublecortin (DCX)-positive neuroblasts by a single transcription factor, SOX2, in the injured adult spinal cord. Importantly, these induced neuroblasts can mature into synapse-forming neurons in vivo. Neuronal maturation is further promoted by treatment with a histone deacetylase inhibitor, valproic acid (VPA). The results of this study indicate that in situ reprogramming of endogenous astrocytes to neurons might be a potential strategy for cellular regeneration after SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3338
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Feb 25 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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