Neuroregeneration in the CNS has proven to be difficult despite decades of research. The old dogma that CNS neurons cannot be regenerated in the adult mammalian brain has been overturned; however, endogenous adult neurogenesis appears to be insufficient for brain repair. Stem cell therapy once held promise for generating large quantities of neurons in the CNS, but immunorejection and long-term functional integration remain major hurdles. In this Perspective, we discuss the use of in vivo reprogramming as an emerging technology to regenerate functional neurons from endogenous glial cells inside the brain and spinal cord. Besides the CNS, in vivo reprogramming has been demonstrated successfully in the pancreas, heart, and liver and may be adopted in other organs. Although challenges remain for translating this technology into clinical therapies, we anticipate that in vivo reprogramming may revolutionize regenerative medicine by using a patient's own internal cells for tissue repair.
ASJC Scopus subject areas