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Reaching into the toolbox: Stem cell models to study neuropsychiatric disorders


Recent advances in genetics, molecular biology, and stem cell biology have accelerated our understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders, like autism spectrum disorder (ASD), major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder (BD), and schizophrenia (SZ). This progress highlights the incredible complexity of both the human brain and mental illnesses from the biochemical to the cellular level. Contributing to the complexity of neuropsychiatric disorders are their polygenic nature, cellular and brain region interconnectivity, and dysregulation of human-specific neurodevelopmental processes. Here, we discuss available tools, including CRISPR-Cas9, and the applications of these tools to develop cell-based two-dimensional (2D) models and 3D brain organoid models that better represent and unravel the intricacies of neuropsychiatric disorder pathophysiology.

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