Neural Stem Cells Helps in the Treatment of Parkinson’s disease

2014-12-23 11:03:00

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease result from the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain. PD is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer's disease and affects approximately seven million people globally. The mean age of onset is around 60 years, although 5–10% of cases, classified as young onset, begin between the ages of 20 and 50.

 With a combination of high-performance liquid chromatography and carbon fiber electrodes, the team at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Peking University (PKU) demonstrated that grafted neural stem cells directly release dopamine in the damaged striatum in vivo and partially rescue a Parkinson’s disease (PD) model. The paper was published on October 20, 2014, on Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

“Embryonic stem cell-based therapies exhibit great potential for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) because they can significantly rescue PD-like behaviours. However, whether the transplanted cells themselves release dopamine in vivo remains elusive. The research team has recently induced human embryonic stem cells into primitive neural stem cells (pNSCs) that are self-renewable for massive/transplantable production and can efficiently differentiate into dopamine-like neurons (pNSC–DAn) in culture. pNSC–DAn grafts release and reuptake dopamine in the striatum in vivo and alleviate PD symptoms in rats, providing proof-of-concept for human clinical translation,” stated in the abstract of the article.

Kang Xin Jiang from Institute of Molecular Medicine, PKU, is the first author. This research is funded by National Key Basic Research Program of China and National Natural Science Foundation of China.
By: Lewis Won Cheng Yi