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J Neurosurg. 1991 Aug;75(2):234-43.

Grafting of perfused adrenal medullary tissue into the caudate nucleus of patients with Parkinson's disease. Clinica Puerta de Hierro Neural Transplantation Group.

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Laboratory of Neurobiology, Clinica Puerta de Hierro, Autonoma University, Madrid, Spain.


The authors report results obtained in 20 severely affected patients with Parkinson's disease (Grade IV or V) who received an autotransplant of perfused adrenal medullary tissue. This study seems to indicate that these autoimplants can improve the parkinsonian symptomatology and induce amelioration in the patients' performance of routine activities. All the symptoms analyzed showed improvement, although it differed in intensity and time of onset. Moreover, this improvement was accompanied by a reduction in the daily intake of L-dopa, with discontinuance of dopamine agonists and amantadine. A number of medical complications were encountered, including three deaths, probably related to performing abdominal surgery in seriously affected parkinsonian patients who were unable to tolerate the discontinuance of their medication. The transient psychiatric disorders observed appeared to be related to the postoperative dose of L-dopa and/or anticholinergic agents administered, and diminished or disappeared when the doses were reduced. The reasons for improvement, which was bilateral, remain unknown, although one cause may be the surgical trauma (minicaudotomy) together with the implantation of adrenal medullary tissue, which may promote the sprouting of surviving dopaminergic fibers. Moreover, in this series, perfusion of adrenal medulla increased the capacity for revascularization of the tissue and may have reduced the damaging effects of warm ischemia on the cells. This, together with the existence of fenestrated vessels, could hypothetically have served as an access point for drugs, and if the implanted cells were viable, they might have served to store and manufacture different factors and/or transmitters. These results as well as those of other groups justify the development of a controlled international clinical trial.

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