Multipotential marrow stromal cells transduced to produce L-DOPA: engraftment in a rat model of Parkinson disease

Hum Gene Ther. 1999 Oct 10;10(15):2539-49. doi: 10.1089/10430349950016870.


Bone marrow stromal cells can be used as an alternative source of cells for neural transplantation and repair. Here, the efficacy of genetically modified marrow stromal cells was examined in a rat model of Parkinson disease. Rat marrow stromal cells (rMSCs) and human marrow stromal cells (hMSCs) were genetically engineered by transduction with retroviruses encoding tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and GTP cyclohydrolase I, the enzyme necessary for production of the tetrahydrobiopterin cofactor for TH (BH4). Transduced cells synthesized 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) in vitro and maintained their multipotentiality after retroviral transduction. To examine the cells in vivo, transduced rMSCs were injected into the striatum of 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats. L-DOPA and metabolites were detected by microdialysis in the denervated striatum of rats that received doubly transduced rMSCs. Also, there was a significant reduction in apomorphine-induced rotation when compared with controls. The cells engrafted and survived for at least 87 days. However, expression of the transgenes ceased at about 9 days, an observation consistent with reports from other laboratories in which similar retroviruses were used to express transgenes in the brain.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Survival
  • Cell Transplantation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • GTP Cyclohydrolase / genetics
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Levodopa / biosynthesis*
  • Levodopa / genetics
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism*
  • Transduction, Genetic
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / genetics
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Levodopa
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • GTP Cyclohydrolase