Recent advances in modelling of cerebellar ataxia using induced pluripotent stem cells.
Wong MMK., Watson LM., Becker EBE.
The cerebellar ataxias are a group of incurable brain disorders that are caused primarily by the progressive dysfunction and degeneration of cerebellar Purkinje cells. The lack of reliable disease models for the heterogeneous ataxias has hindered the understanding of the underlying pathogenic mechanisms as well as the development of effective therapies for these devastating diseases. Recent advances in the field of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology offer new possibilities to better understand and potentially reverse disease pathology. Given the neurodevelopmental phenotypes observed in several types of ataxias, iPSC-based models have the potential to provide significant insights into disease progression, as well as opportunities for the development of early intervention therapies. To date, however, very few studies have successfully used iPSC-derived cells to model cerebellar ataxias. In this review, we focus on recent breakthroughs in generating human iPSC-derived Purkinje cells. We also highlight the future challenges that will need to be addressed in order to fully exploit these models for the modelling of the molecular mechanisms underlying cerebellar ataxias and the development of effective therapeutics.