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The Use of Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine for Parkinson's and Huntington's Diseases

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Abstract:

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.

Keywords: Behavioral recovery; immune property; neurite outgrowth; neurogenesis; neuron replacement; tissue repair; transplantation; trophic factor

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/092986712804485881

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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