Replacing the cells lost in Parkinson disease

Dec 03, 2007

Parkinson disease (PD) is caused by the progressive degeneration of brain cells known as dopamine (DA) cells. Replacing these cells is considered a promising therapeutic strategy. Although DA cell–replacement therapy by transplantation of human fetal mesencephalic tissue has shown promise in clinical trials, limited tissue availability means that other sources of these cells are needed.

Now, Ernest Arenas and colleagues at the Karolinska Institue, Sweden, have identified a new source for DA cells that provided marked benefit when transplanted into mice with a PD-like disease.

In the study, DA cells were derived from ventral midbrain (VM) neural stem cells/progenitors by culturing them in the presence of a number of factors — FGF2, sonic hedgehog, and FGF8 — and engineering them to express Wnt5a. This protocol generated 10-fold more DA cells than did conventional FGF2 treatment.

Further analysis revealed that these cells initiated substantial cellular and functional recovery when transplanted into mice with PD-like disease. Importantly, the mice did not develop tumors, a potential risk that has precluded the clinical development of embryonic stem cells as a source of DA cells. These data led the authors to suggest that Wnt5a-treated neural stem cells might be an efficient and safe source of DA cells for the treatment of individuals with PD.

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Explore further: Investigators show how immune cells are 'educated' not to attack beneficial bacteria

Related Stories

Chinese team performs gene editing on human embryo

Apr 23, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers in China has announced that they have performed gene editing on human embryos. In their paper uploaded to the open access site Protein & Cell (after being rejected by Nat ...

Research shows blood cells generate neurons in crayfish

Apr 09, 2015

A new study by Barbara Beltz, the Allene Lummis Russell Professor of Neuroscience at Wellesley College, and Irene Söderhäll of Uppsala University, Sweden, published in the August 11 issue of the journal ...

Recommended for you

Fat signals control energy levels in the brain

Apr 23, 2015

An enzyme secreted by the body's fat tissue controls energy levels in the brain, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The findings, in mice, underscore a role ...

Human tape worm drug shows promise against MRSA in lab

Apr 23, 2015

A new study provides evidence from lab experiments that a drug already used in people to fight tapeworms might also prove effective against strains of the superbug MRSA, which kills thousands of people a ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.