Electrophysiological properties of neurons derived from human stem cells and iNeuronsin vitro

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Functional studies of neurons have traditionally used nervous system tissues from a variety of non-human vertebrate and invertebrate species, even when the focus of much of this research has been directed at understanding human brain function. Over the last decade, the identification and isolation of human stem cells from embryonic, tissue (or adult) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has revolutionized the availability of human neurons for experimental studies in vitro. In addition, the direct conversion of terminally differentiated fibroblasts into Induced neurons (iN) has generated great excitement because of the likely value of such human stem cell derived neurons (hSCNs) and iN cells in drug discovery, neuropharmacology, neurotoxicology and regenerative medicine. This review addresses the current state of our knowledge of functional receptors and ion channels expressed in neurons derived from human stem cells and iNeurons and identifies gaps and questions that might be investigated in future studies; it focusses almost exclusively on what is known about the electrophysiological properties of neurons derived from human stem cells and iN cells in vitro with an emphasis on voltage and ligand gated ion channels, since these mediate synaptic signalling in the nervous system and they are at the heart of neuropharmacology.

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