Send to

Choose Destination
Dis Model Mech. 2014 Oct;7(10):1193-203. doi: 10.1242/dmm.015859. Epub 2014 Aug 1.

Modelling of a targeted nanotherapeutic 'stroma' to deliver the cytokine LIF, or XAV939, a potent inhibitor of Wnt-β-catenin signalling, for use in human fetal dopaminergic grafts in Parkinson's disease.

Author information

John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair, Addenbrookes Hospital, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 0PY, UK.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, Malone Engineering Center, 55 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.
John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair, Addenbrookes Hospital, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 0PY, UK.


The endogenous reparative capacity of the adult human brain is low, and chronic neurodegenerative disorders of the central nervous system represent one of the greatest areas of unmet clinical need in the developing world. Novel therapeutic strategies to treat them include: (i) growth factor delivery to boost endogenous repair and (ii) replacement cell therapy, including replacing dopaminergic neurons to treat Parkinson's disease (PD). However, these approaches are restricted not only by rapid degradation of growth factors, but also by the limited availability of cells for transplant and the poor survival of implanted cells that lack the necessary stromal support. We therefore hypothesised that provision of a transient artificial stroma for paracrine delivery of pro-survival factors could overcome both of these issues. Using leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) - a proneural, reparative cytokine - formulated as target-specific poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nano-particles (LIF-nano-stroma), we discovered that attachment of LIF-nano-stroma to freshly isolated fetal dopaminergic cells improved their survival fourfold: furthermore, in vivo, the number of surviving human fetal dopaminergic cells tended to be higher at 3 months after grafting into the striatum of nude rats, compared with controls treated with empty nanoparticles. In addition, we also analysed the effect of a novel nano-stroma incorporating XAV939 (XAV), a potent inhibitor of the developmentally important Wnt-β-catenin signalling pathway, to investigate whether it could also promote the survival and differentiation of human fetal dopaminergic precursors; we found that the numbers of both tyrosine-hydroxylase-positive neurons (a marker of dopaminergic neurons) and total neurons were increased. This is the first demonstration that LIF-nano-stroma and XAV-nano-stroma each have pro-survival effects on human dopaminergic neurons, with potential value for target-specific modulation of neurogenic fate in cell-based therapies for PD.


LIF; Nanotherapy; Parkinson’s disease; XAV939

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center