Based on the advanced STEMOD™ platform we have established, Creative Biolabs is proud to offer high-quality motor neurons (MNs) differentiation service for our global customers. The service offered by Creative Biolabs will contribute greatly to the success of your project.
Introduction to MNs
MNs are neuronal cells located in the central nervous system (CNS) for controlling various downstream targets. MNs have the most common type of body plan for a nerve cell-they are multipolar, each with one axon and several dendrites. Spinal MNs located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord are responsible for controlling effector muscles in the periphery and control effector muscles in the periphery. Spinal MNs connect to muscles, glands, and organs throughout the body and form neuronal circuitry. These neurons transmit impulses and control all of our muscle movements.
The generation of MNs appears to involve several developmental steps. Ectodermal cells acquire an initial rostral neural character through the regulation of BMP, FGF, and Wnt signaling. These rostral neural progenitors acquire a spinal positional identity to scandalize signals that include retinoic acid (RA). Subsequently, spinal progenitor cells acquire an MN progenitor identity in response to the ventralizing action of Sonic hedgehog (Shh).
Classification of MNs
MNs are divided into two categories according to the locations: (1) upper MNs that originate from the cerebral cortex, and (2) lower MNs that are located in the brainstem and spinal cord. Lower MNs travel from the spinal cord to muscle, whereas upper MNs travel between the brain and spinal cord. Lower MNs are alpha MNs, beta MN, and gamma MNs, including branchial MNs, visceral MNs, and somatic MNs.
Fig.1 Characteristics of alpha and gamma MNs. (Stifani, 2014)
Functions of MNs
MNs integrate signals from the brain and the sensory systems to control all voluntary and involuntary movements and parts of the autonomic nervous system. MNs can form the efferent division of the PNS. There are approximately 500,000 MNs carrying information from the CNS to peripheral effectors in peripheral tissues and organ systems. Efferent fibers are the axons of MNs that carry information away from the CNS. A single MN may innervate many muscle fibers, and a muscle fiber can undergo most action potentials in the time taken for a single muscle twitch. Innervation occurs at a neuromuscular junction, and twitches can become superimposed.
Diseases Related to MNs
MNs target devastating diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinal muscular atrophy, multiple sclerosis, progressive muscular atrophy, and spinal cord injuries. Evidence indicated that in the early stages of ALS, the nerve terminals and MN junctions are partially degraded. Selective vulnerability of MNs likely arises from several mechanisms, including protein misfolding, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative damage, defective axonal transport, excitotoxicity, insufficient growth factor signaling, and inflammation. Nonneuronal neighboring cells' damage enhances damage within MNs via an inflammatory response that accelerates disease progression.
Fig.2 Schematic of the evolution of MN degeneration and glial activation during SOD1 mutant-initiated ALS disease. (Boillée, 2006)
MNs Differentiation Service
With the advent of induced stem cells offering patient-specific treatment hopes, stem cells have been shown to generate MNs in vitro under developmental cues. Stem cells-derived MNs are a valuable tool for many MN studies. Stem cells-derived MNs make excellent candidates for drug screening, particularly in human-derived cells where in vivo tests are inappropriate, and iPSCs can be generated from patients. As a leading custom service provider in neuroscience ex vivo models, Creative Biolabs is devoted to solving numerous challenging projects. With over a decade of extensive experience in providing custom neural differentiation services, our scientists contributed to establishing an advanced STEMOD™ platform to meet every specific requirement from our customers.
Based on our most advanced techniques and years of experience, Creative Biolabs is dedicated to assisting our clients with the most satisfactory stem cell-based ex vivo model-related solutions. If you are interested in learning more about our capacity, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Stifani, N. Motor neurons and the generation of spinal motor neurons diversity. Frontiers in cellular neuroscience. 2014, 8, 293.