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J Neurochem. 2004 Oct;91(2):274-84.

Co-transplantation of carotid body and ventral mesencephalic cells as an alternative approach towards functional restoration in 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats: implications for Parkinson's disease.

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Developmental Toxicology Division, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Lucknow, India.


Exogenous administration of various neurotrophic factors has been shown to protect neurons in animal model of Parkinson's disease (PD). Several attempts are being made to search a tissue source simultaneously expressing many of these neurotrophic factors. Carotid body (CB) contains oxygen-sensitive glomus cells rich in dopamine (DA) and expresses glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-3. We have attempted to study the functional restoration following co-transplantation of CB cells and ventral mesencephalic cells (VMC) in a 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rat model of PD. A significant recovery (p < 0.001) in d-amphetamine-induced circling behavior (80%) and spontaneous locomotor activity (85%) was evident in co-transplanted animals at 12 weeks post-transplantation as compared to lesioned animals. Similarly, a significant (p < 0.001) restoration was observed in DA-D(2) receptor binding (77%), striatal DA (87%) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) (85%) levels and nigral DA (75%) and DOPAC (74%) levels. Functional recovery was accompanied by tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression and quantification of TH-positive cells by image analysis revealed a significant restoration in TH-immunoreactive (IR) fiber density in striatum, as well as TH-IR neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta in co-transplanted animals over VMC-transplanted animals. The result suggests that co-transplantation of CB cells along with VMC provides better and long-term functional restoration in the rat model of PD, possibly by supporting the survival of newly grafted cells as well as remaining host DA neurons.

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