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Dopaminergic Reinnervation of the Globus Pallidus by Fetal Nigral Grafts in the Rodent Model of Parkinson's Disease

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The current neural transplantation strategy for Parkinson's disease (PD) involves the dopaminergic reinnervation of the striatum (STR). Although up to 85% reinnervation of the STR has been attained by neural transplantation, functional recovery in animal models and transplanted patients is incomplete. This limitation may be due to an incomplete restoration of the dopaminergic input to other basal ganglia structures such as the external segment of the globus pallidus (GPe, homologue of the rodent GP), which normally receives dopaminergic input from the substantia nigra (SN). As part of our investigation into a multiple grafting strategy for PD, we have explored the effects of dopaminergic grafts in the GP of rodents with unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesions. In this experiment, lesioned rats received either 300,000 fetal ventral mesencephalic (FVM) cells or a sham injection into the GP. Functional assessment consisted of rotational behavior at 3 and 6 weeks posttransplantation. A fluorogold tracer study was conducted to rule out any behavioral improvement due to striatal outgrowth of the GP graft. Sections were stained for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) to assess the degree of trauma in the GP by the graft in comparison to the sham injection. Immunohistochemistry for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) was performed after transplantation to assess graft survival. Animals with GP grafts demonstrated a significant improvement in rotational behavior at 3 and 6 weeks posttransplantation (p < 0.05) while sham control animals did not improve. All animals receiving FVM cells showed TH-immunoreactive grafts in the GP posttransplantation. TH-positive neurons in the GP showed no double labeling with an intrastriatal injection of fluorogold, indicating that behavioral improvement was not due to striatal innervation by the GP graft. These observations suggest that functional recovery was the result of dopaminergic reinnervation of the GP and that this nucleus may be a potential target for neural transplantation in clinical PD.
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Keywords: Dopaminergic grafts; Fetal ventral mesencephalic cells; Fluorogold; Globus pallidus; Multiple grafting strategy; Neural transplantation; Parkinson's disease; Tyrosine hydroxylase

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology 2: Departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Surgery (Division of Neurosurgery), Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4H7, Canada

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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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.

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

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