In 2006, Takahashi and Yamanaka reported a groundbreaking study showing mouse and human somatic cells that can be reprogrammed to the pluripotent state by expression of only a few transcription factors (Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc). This novel strategy can be used for transplantation therapies without immune rejection providing additional advantages regarding ethic issues of oocyte donation. For neurological diseases, disease-specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells may serve as an invaluable model for clarifying pathogenesis and for screening new drug therapies. In particular, differentiated neurons derived from patient iPS cells could infinitely provide an alternative cellular-biochemical material for research instead of biopsy and autopsy. This review summarizes the current studies applying iPS cells in the field of neurology and discusses their potential and limitations for therapy against neurological diseases.
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