Scientists studying neurological disorders use cellular models to examine how synaptic communication abnormalities manifest as psychiatric conditions. Researchers create many of these models using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technologies. Deepak Srivastava and his research team at King’s College London recently used human iPSC-derived excitatory neurons to model how exposure to elevated levels of a specific pro-inflammatory cytokine during pregnancy may affect an individual’s propensity to develop schizophrenia. They completed this study within 12 weeks, thanks to new technology that made it possible to quickly generate human excitatory neurons using transcription factor reprogramming.

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