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Cell Transplant. 1997 May-Jun;6(3):239-48.

Differential dissection of the rat E16 ventral mesencephalon and survival and reinnervation of the 6-OHDA-lesioned striatum by a subset of aldehyde dehydrogenase-positive TH neurons.

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  • 1Neuroregeneration Laboratory, Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02178, USA.


The retinoic acid-generating enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase (AHD), is expressed in a subpopulation of dopaminergic neurons found in the substantia nigra. Using AHD and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) as immunohistochemical markers, we determined whether differential dissection of the embryonic (E16) ventral mesencephalon (VM) into its lateral and medial portions contributed equally to the number of TH cells surviving transplantation, if grafted AHD/TH neurons reinnervate the host striatum according to their normal projection patterns, and examined the functional recovery caused by the implanted cells as assessed by amphetamine-induced rotation in a 6-OHDA-lesioned model of Parkinson's disease. The embryonic tissue was transplanted as solid pieces injected via a 20-gauge lumbar puncture needle into the center of the deafferented striatum. Groups received either one complete ventral mesencephalic piece (VM), two medial pieces of ventral mesencephalic tissue (MVM), or two lateral pieces of ventral mesencephalic tissue (LVM). Both VM and MVM groups showed a significant decrease in amphetamine-induced rotation over time and, there was no difference in the degree of reduction observed between the two groups. Histological evaluation of the transplants revealed a much larger total number of surviving TH cells in grafts from the VM and MVM groups compared to the LVM group. Surviving AHD/TH neurons were found in all groups. Whereas TH staining of the transplanted striatum displayed a halo of graft-derived fibers all around the transplant and integration of these fibers into the host neuropil, AHD staining showed a preferential reinnervation of the dorsolateral striatum corresponding to the normal projection pattern of AHD/TH neurons. In summary, selective dissection of the embryonic ventral mesencephalon is possible, functional recovery as assessed by amphetamine-induced rotation in animals transplanted with MVM is similar to that seen in animals grafted with VM, and AHD/TH neurons have a selective reinnervation pattern in the PD transplantation paradigm. These findings may have implications for the grafting of fetal mesencephalic tissue in PD patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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