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Open Access Docosahexaenoic Acid Promotes Dopaminergic Differentiation in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Inhibits Teratoma Formation in Rats With Parkinson-Like Pathology

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Abstract:

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the degeneration of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the midbrain. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have shown potential for differentiation and may become a resource of functional neurons for the treatment of PD. However, teratoma formation is a major concern for transplantation-based therapies. This study examined whether functional neurons could be efficiently generated from iPS cells using a five-step induction procedure combined with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) treatment. We demonstrated that DHA, a ligand for the RXR/Nurr1 heterodimer, significantly activated expression of the Nurr1 gene and the Nurr1-related pathway in iPS cells. DHA treatment facilitated iPS differentiation into tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons in vitro and in vivo and functionally increased dopamine release in transplanted grafts in PD-like animals. Furthermore, DHA dramatically upregulated the endogenous expression levels of neuroprotective genes (Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor) and protected against 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced apoptosis in iPS-derived neuronal precursor cells. DHA-treated iPS cells significantly improved the behavior of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-treated PD-like rats compared to control or eicosapentaenoic acid-treated group. Importantly, the in vivo experiment suggests that DHA induces the differentiation of functional dopaminergic precursors and improves the abnormal behavior of 6-OHDA-treated PD-like rats by 4 months after transplantation. Furthermore, we found that DHA treatment in iPS cell-grafted rats significantly downregulated the mRNA expression of embryonic stem cell-specific genes (Oct-4 and c-Myc) in the graft and effectively blocked teratoma formation. Importantly, 3 Tesla-magnetic resonance imaging and ex vivo green fluorescence protein imaging revealed that no teratomas were present in transplanted grafts of DHA-treated iPS-derived DA neurons 4 months after implantation. Therefore, our data suggest that DHA plays a crucial role in iPS differentiation into functional DA neurons and that this approach could provide a novel therapeutic approach for PD treatment.

Keywords: 3T-MRI; Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); Dopamine; Dopaminergic neurons; Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS); Parkinson's disease

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/096368911X580572

Affiliations: Institute of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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.
cog/ct/2012/00000021/00000001/art00023
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