The Use of Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine for Parkinson's and Huntington's Diseases
Cell transplantation has been proposed as a means of replacing specific cell populations lost through neurodegenerative processes such as that seen in Parkinson's or Huntington's diseases. Improvement of the clinical symptoms has been observed in a number of Parkinson and Huntington's patients transplanted with freshly isolated fetal brain tissue but such restorative approach is greatly hampered by logistic and ethical concerns relative to the use of fetal tissue, in addition to potential side effects that remain to be controlled. In this context, stem cells that are capable of self-renewal and can differentiate into neurons, have received a great deal of interest, as demonstrated by the numerous studies based on the transplantation of neural stem/progenitor cells, embryonic stem cells or mesenchymal stem cells into animal models of Parkinson's or Huntington's diseases. More recently, the induction of pluripotent stem cells from somatic adult cells has raised a new hope for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In the present article, we review the main experimental approaches to assess the efficiency of cell–based therapy for Parkinson's or Huntington's diseases, and discuss the recent advances in using stem cells to replace lost dopaminergic mesencephalic or striatal neurons. Characteristics of the different stem cells are extensively examined with a special attention to their ability of producing neurotrophic or immunosuppressive factors, as these may provide a favourable environment for brain tissue repair and long-term survival of transplanted cells in the central nervous system. Thus, stem cell therapy can be a valuable tool in regenerative medicine.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 December 2012
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