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Open Access Microtransplantation of Dopaminergic Cell Suspensions: Further Characterization and Optimization of Grafting Parameters

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Intracerebral transplantation of dopaminergic (DA) cells is currently further explored as a potential restorative therapy for Parkinson's disease (PD). However, before they can be considered for a more widespread clinical use a number of critical issues have to be resolved, including an optimized transplantation protocol. This study has been performed in a rat 6-hydroxydopamine model of PD and is based on the microtransplantation approach. The results demonstrate a reduced survival (threefold) for a single cell suspension of E14 rat ventral mesencephalon compared to a fragment suspension when a metal cannula is used for implantation. However, fragment suspensions result in a more variable graft survival and ectopically placed cells along the implantation tract. When a glass capillary is used for implantation, the survival of the single cell suspension (so-called “micrograft”) improved by fourfold (vs. single cells/metal cannula) and is superior to the combination of the metal cannula and fragment suspension (+40%). The micrografts show a reduced variability in DA neuron survival as well as fewer ectopically placed cells. Moreover, the implantation time can significantly be reduced from 19 to 7 min in micrografted animals without a compromise in DA graft survival and functional behavioral outcome. Using the microtransplantation approach graft size can be tailored effectively by varying the density of the final cell suspension at least between 11,000 and 320,000 cells/l, resulting in comparable survival of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons in the range of 2‐4%. With this approach no more than 100 surviving TH-positive neurons are necessary to produce functional effects in the amphetamine-induced rotation test. Interestingly, we found that DA micrografts into lesion striatum present 20% higher survival rates of TH neurons in comparison to the intact striatum. In summary, these results provide further evidence for the usefulness of the microtransplantation approach and allow for a more precise and tailored adaptation of the implantation parameters for further studies on DA, and possibly also other neural-, glial-, and stem cell-derived grafts.

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Keywords: 6-Hydroxydopamine lesion; DA neuron survival; Nigrostriatal system; Transplantation protocol

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2009

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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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