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Exp Neurol. 2001 May;169(1):23-9.

Diminished survival of mesencephalic dopamine neurons grafted into aged hosts occurs during the immediate postgrafting interval.

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Department of Neurological Sciences, Research Center for Brain Repair, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Suite 200, 2242 West Harrison Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60612, USA.


The survival rate of dopamine (DA) neurons in mesencephalic grafts to young adult rats is poor, estimated at 5-20%, and even poorer in grafts to the aged striatum. Grafted cells die in young adult rats during the first 4 days after implantation. The present study was undertaken to determine whether the decreased survival of DA neurons in grafts to aged rats is (1) due to additional cell death during the immediate postgrafting interval or (2) due to protracted cell loss during longer postgrafting intervals. We compared survival rates of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (THir) neurons in cell suspension grafts to young adult (3 months) and aged (24 months) male Fischer 344 rats at 4 days and 2 weeks after transplantation. At 4 days after grafting, mesencephalic grafts within the aged rat striatum contain approximately 25% of the number of THir neurons in the same mesencephalic cell suspension grafted to young adult rats. This corroborates the decreased survival of grafted DA neurons we have demonstrated previously at 10 weeks postgrafting. THir neurons in grafts to the intact striatum possessed a significantly shorter "long axis" than their counterparts on the lesioned side. No significant differences in the number of apoptotic nuclear profiles or total alkaline phosphatase staining between mesencephalic grafts to young and aged rats were detectable at 4 days postgrafting. In summary, the present study indicates that the exaggerated cell death of grafted DA neurons that occurs following implantation to the aged striatum occurs during the immediate postgrafting interval, timing identical to that documented for young adult hosts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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