Seminar: Using Stem Cells and Optogenetics to Restore Function to Paralysed Muscles
Damage to the central nervous system caused by injury or neurological disorders, such as ALS, can lead to permanent loss of motor function and muscle paralysis. We have devised a unique approach to restore this lost muscle function. We created light sensitive ESC-derived motor neurons expressing Channelrhodopsin2, which are implanted into denervated peripheral nerves. These grafted motor neurons survived and grew towards denervated target muscles. By exposing the light-sensitive ESC-motor neurons to pulses of blue light, it was possible to finely-control the contraction of muscles that they formed connections with. This may prove to be a successful strategy to restore function to muscles after injury or disease.
Professor Linda Greensmith, Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL Institute of Neurology.Contact person: Eva Hedlund