Transplanted human fetal dopamine neurons can reinnervate the striatum in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Recent findings using positron emission tomography indicate that the grafts are functionally integrated and restore dopamine release in the patient's striatum. The grafts can exhibit long-term survival without immunological rejection and despite an ongoing disease process and continuous antiparkinsonian drug treatment. In the most successful cases, patients have been able to withdraw L-dopa treatment after transplantation and resume an independent life. About two-thirds of grafted patients have shown clinically useful, partial recovery of motor function. The major obstacle for the further development of this cell replacement strategy is that large amounts of human fetal mesencephalic tissue are needed for therapeutic effects. Stem cells hold promise as a virtually unlimited source of self-renewing progenitors for transplantation. The possibility to generate dopamine neurons from such cells is now being explored using different approaches. However, so far the generated neurons have survived poorly after transplantation in animals.
- Medicin och hälsovetenskap (3)