Stem cell-derived dopaminergic neurons rescue motor defects in Parkinsonian monkeys

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that is characterized by tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty walking. It is caused by loss of the neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine (known as dopaminergic neurons). One of the primary goals in Parkinson's disease research is to develop a replacement for dopaminergic neurons.

In this issue of the , researchers led by Takuya Hayashi at the RIKEN Center for Molecular Imaging Science in Kobe, Japan, derived dopaminergic neurons from bone marrow in monkeys.

The cells were retrieved during a standard bone marrow aspiration and then treated with growth factors that directed the stem cells to become dopaminergic neurons.

The monkeys that donated the stem cells were treated with a chemical to induce Parkinson's disease and then received a transplant of the new dopaminergic neurons that had been derived from their own bone marrow stem cells. Monkeys that received the transplant showed significant improvement in motor defects.

This study demonstrates that dopaminergic neurons derived from adult bone marrow stem cells can be safely used to improve motor function in Parkinson's disease in monkeys.

More information: Autologous mesenchymal stem cell–derived dopaminergic neurons function in parkinsonian macaques, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2012.

Related Stories

Generating dopamine via cell therapy for Parkinson's disease

date Jul 02, 2012

In Parkinson's disease, the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the midbrain causes well-characterized motor symptoms. Though embryonic stem cells could potentially be used to replace dopaminergic (DA) neurons in Parkinson's ...

RXR activation -- hope for new Parkinson's disease treatment

date Dec 11, 2009

Following up on their previous work showing the rescue of dopamine neurons by chemicals that interact with the retinoid X receptor (RXR), researchers have now investigated the potential of these chemicals, known as RXR ligands, ...

Recommended for you

Parkinson's disease may begin in the gut

date Jun 23, 2015

The chronic neurodegenerative Parkinson's disease affects an increasing number of people. However, scientists still do not know why some people develop Parkinson's disease. Now researchers from Aarhus University ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.