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Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid Improves the Survival and Function of Nigral Transplants in a Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease

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There is accumulating evidence showing that the majority of cell death in neural grafts results from apoptosis when cells are implanted into the brain. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), a taurine-conjugated hydrophilic bile acid, has been found to possess antiapoptotic properties. In the present study we have examined whether the supplementation of TUDCA to cell suspensions prior to transplantation can lead to enhanced survival of nigral grafts. We first conducted an in vitro study to examine the effects of TUDCA on the survival of dopamine neurons in serum-free conditions. The number of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons in the TUDCA-treated cultures was significantly greater than that of control cultures 7 days in vitro. In addition, a terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay showed that the number of apoptotic cells in the TUDCA-treated cultures was dramatically smaller than that in the control cultures. In the transplantation study, a 50 μM concentration of TUDCA was added to the media when nigral tissue from Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats was trypsinized and dissociated. Two microliters of cell suspension containing TUDCA was then stereotaxically injected into the striatum of adult SD rats subjected to an extensive unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesion of the nigrastriatal dopamine pathway. At 2 weeks after transplantation, the rats that received a cell suspension with TUDCA exhibited a significant reduction in amphetamine-induced rotation scores when compared with pretransplantation value. There was a significant increase (approximately threefold) in the number of TH-positive cells in the neural grafts for the TUDCA-treated group when compared with the controls 6 weeks postgrafting. The number of apoptotic cells was much smaller in the graft areas in the TUDCA-treated groups than in the control group 4 days after transplantation. These data demonstrate that pretreatment of the cell suspension with TUDCA can reduce apoptosis and increase the survival of grafted cells, resulting in an improvement of behavioral recovery.
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Keywords: Key words: Neural transplantation; Dopamine; Apoptosis; Parkinson's; disease; Tauroursodeoxycholic acid

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Department of Neurosurgery, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN 55455 2: ‡Centro de Patogénese Molecular, Faculdade de Farmácia, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal 3: †Department Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Publication date: 2002-03-01

More about this publication?
  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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