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Ann Neurol. 2003;53 Suppl 3:S135-46; discussion S146-8.

Toward full restoration of synaptic and terminal function of the dopaminergic system in Parkinson's disease by stem cells.

Author information

  • 1Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Center of Excellence, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA 02478, USA. isacson@helix.mgh.harvard.edu

Abstract

New therapeutic nonpharmacological methodology in Parkinson's disease (PD) involves cell and synaptic renewal or replacement to restore function of neuronal systems, including the dopaminergic (DA) system. Using fetal DA cell therapy in PD patients and laboratory models, it has been demonstrated that functional motor deficits associated with parkinsonism can be reduced. Similar results have been observed in animal models with stem cell-derived DA neurons. Evidence obtained from transplanted PD patients further shows that the underlying disease process does not destroy transplanted fetal DA cells, although degeneration of the host nigrostriatal system continues. The optimal DA cell regeneration system would reconstitute a normal neuronal network capable of restoring feedback-controlled release of DA in the nigrostriatal system. The success of cell therapy for PD is limited by access to preparation and development of highly specialized dopaminergic neurons found in the A9 and A10 region of the substantia nigra pars compacta as well as the technical and surgical steps associated with the transplantation procedure. Recent laboratory work has focused on using stem cells as a starting point for deriving the optimal DA cells to restore the nigrostriatal system. Ultimately, understanding the cell biological principles necessary for generating functional DA neurons can provide many new avenues for better treatment of patients with PD.

PMID:
12666105
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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