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Quantitative [18F]Fluorodopa/PET and Histology of Fetal Mesencephalic Dopaminergic Grafts to the Striatum of MPTP-Poisoned Minipigs

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The functional restoration of the dopamine innervation of striatum in MPTP-poisoned Göttingen minipigs was assessed for 6 months following grafting of fetal pig mesencephalic neurons. Pigs were assigned to a normal control group and a MPTP-poisoned group, members of which received no further treatment, or which received bilateral grafts to the striatum of tissue blocks harvested from E28 fetal pig mesencephalon with and without immunosuppressive treatment after grafting, or with additional co-grafting with immortalized rat neural cells transfected to produce GDNF. In the baseline condition, and again at 3 and 6 months postsurgery, all animals were subjected to quantitative [18F]fluorodopa PET scans and testing for motor impairment. At the end of 6 months, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-containing neurons were counted in the grafts by stereological methods. The MPTP poisoning persistently reduced the magnitude of k3D, the relative activity of DOPA decarboxylase in striatum, by 60%. Grafting restored the rate of [18F]fluorodopa decarboxylation to the normal range, and normalized the scores in motor function. The biochemical and functional recovery was associated with survival of approximately 100,000 TH-positive graft neurons in each hemisphere. Immunosuppression did not impart a greater recovery of [18F]fluorodopa uptake, nor were the number of TH-positive graft neurons or the volumes of the grafts increased in the immunosuppressed group. Contrary to expectation, co-grafting of transfected GDNF-expressing HiB5 cells, a rat-derived neural cell line, tended to impair the survival of the grafts with the lowest values for graft volumes, TH-positive cell numbers, behavioral scores, and relative DOPA decarboxylase activity. From the results we conclude that pig ventral mesencephalic allografts can restore functional dopamine innervation in adult MPTP-lesioned minipigs.

Keywords: Key words: Minipig; MPTP; Parkinsonism; [18F]Fluorodopa; DOPA decarboxylase; PET; Grafting; Stereology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Southern Denmark, 5000 Odense C, Denmark 2: †PET Centre, Aarhus General Hospital, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark 3: ‡Department of Neurobiology, University of Aarhus, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark 4: §NsGene, 2750 Ballerup, Denmark 5: ¶McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • 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.

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