Researchers in Brazil (D’Or Institute for Research & Education), in conjunction with scientists at L’Oréal, successfully differentiated human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) into peripheral sensory neurons—or the neurons that innervate our arms, legs, fingers, and toes—in the presence of skin cells. The cells were responsive to pain-causing irritants, such as capsaicin, resiniferatoxin, anandamide, bradykinin, potassium solution, and hydrogen peroxide.
This study co-cultured hiPSC cells with skin cells to provide insight into how sensory neurons play a role in skin renewal and the detection of painful stimuli. The implications of their findings are useful in studying chronic pain, predicting causes of neuroinflammation, and potentially individualized disease modeling.
The researchers of this study expressed that this technique can be applied to patient-derived hiPSCs to aid in the development of personalized in vitro disease models.
Animals used to mimic pain in humans do not depict human neural physiology, and cannot capture the progression of a disease that may vary from person to person.
Guimaraes MZP, De Vecchi R, Vitoria G, et al. Generation of iPSC-derived human peripheral sensory neurons releasing substance P elicited by TRPV1 agonists. Front Mol Neurosci. 2018;11:277. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2018.00277