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Open Access The Colayer Method as an Efficient Way to Genetically Modify Mesencephalic Progenitor Cells Transplanted Into 6-OHDA Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease

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Exogenous cell replacement represents a potent treatment option for Parkinson's disease. However, the low survival rate of transplanted dopaminergic neurons (DA) calls for methodological improvements. Here we evaluated a method to combine transient genetic modification of neuronal progenitor cells with an optimized cell culture protocol prior to intrastriatal transplantation into 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) unilateral lesioned rats. Plasmid-based delivery of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) increases the number of DA neurons, identified by tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity (TH-ir), by 25% in vitro, compared to enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP)-transfected controls. However, the nucleofection itself, especially the cell detachment and reseeding procedure, decreases the TH-ir neuron number to 40% compared with nontransfected control cultures. To circumvent this drawback we established the colayer method, which contains a mix of nucleofected cells reseeded on top of an adherent sister culture in a ratio 1:3. In this setup TH-ir neuron number remains high and could be further increased by 25% after BDNF transfection. Comparison of both cell culture procedures (standard and colayer) after intrastriatal transplantation revealed a similar DA neuron survival as seen in vitro. Two weeks after grafting TH-ir neuron number was strongly reduced in animals receiving the standard EGFP-transfected cells (271 ± 62) compared to 1,723 ± 199 TH-ir neurons in the colayer group. In contrast to the in vitro results, no differences in the number of grafted TH-ir neurons were observed between BDNF, EGFP, and nontransfected colayer groups, neither 2 nor 13 weeks after transplantation. Likewise, amphetamine and apomorphine-induced rotational behavior improved similarly over time in all groups. Nevertheless, the colayer protocol provides an efficient way for neurotrophic factor release by transplanted progenitor cells and will help to study the effects of candidate factors on survival and integration of transplanted DA neurons.

Keywords: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF); Cell replacement; Dopaminergic (DA) neurons; Nucleofection; Parkinson's disease (PD)

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Neuroanatomy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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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.
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