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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2015 Oct 19;370(1680):20140370. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0370.

Treatment of Parkinson's disease using cell transplantation.

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Laboratory of Stem Cells and Restorative Neurology, Lund Stem Cell Center, University Hospital, 221 84 Lund, Sweden


The clinical trials with intrastriatal transplantation of human fetal mesencephalic tissue, rich in dopaminergic neurons, in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients show that cell replacement can work and in some cases induce major, long-lasting improvement. However, owing to poor tissue availability, this approach can only be applied in very few patients, and standardization is difficult, leading to wide variation in functional outcome. Stem cells and reprogrammed cells could potentially be used to produce dopaminergic neurons for transplantation. Importantly, dopaminergic neurons of the correct substantia nigra phenotype can now be generated from human embryonic stem cells in large numbers and standardized preparations, and will soon be ready for application in patients. Also, human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived dopaminergic neurons are being considered for clinical translation. Available data justify moving forward in a responsible way with these dopaminergic neurons, which should be tested, using optimal patient selection, cell preparation and transplantation procedures, in controlled clinical studies.


Parkinson's disease; dopaminergic neurons; neural grafts; reprogramming; stem cells; transplantation

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