One experimental therapy for Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the transplantation of embryonic ventral mesencephalic tissue. Unfortunately, up to 95% of grafted neurons die, many via apoptosis. Activated caspases play a key role in execution of the apoptotic pathway; therefore, exposure to caspase inhibitors may provide an effective intervention strategy for protection against apoptotic cell death. In the present study we examined the efficacy of two different caspase inhibitors, caspase-1 inhibitor Ac-YVAD-CMK and caspase-3 inhibitor Ac-DEVD-CMK, to augment mesencephalic tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir) neuron survival in culture and following implantation into the denervated striatum of rats. We report that treatment with Ac-YVAD-CMK provided partial but nonsignificant protection for TH-ir neurons against serum withdrawal in mesencephalic cultures plated at low density, while neither caspase inhibitor promoted TH-ir neuron survival in higher density cultures, simulating graft density. We demonstrate that plating procedures (full well vs. microislands) and cell density directly affect the degree of insult experienced by TH-ir neurons following serum withdrawal. This varying degree of insult directly impacts whether caspase inhibition will augment TH-ir neuron survival. Our grafting experiments demonstrate that Ac-YVAD-CMK does not augment grafted TH-ir neuron survival when added to mesencephalic cell suspensions prior to grafting or to mesencephalic reaggregates for 3 days in vitro prior to transplantation. These experiments provide further evidence of the failure of these caspase inhibitors to augment TH-ir neuron survival. Furthermore, we suggest that cell culture paradigms used to model grafting paradigms must more closely approximate the cell densities of mesencephalic grafts to effectively screen potential augmentative treatments.
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Document Type: Research Article
Department of Neurological Sciences, Research Center for Brain Repair, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612
Publication date: 2004-01-01
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