Cross-species transplantation of dopamine-releasing cell lines protected against immune rejection by a semi-permeable synthetic membrane may provide a source of neurotransmitters for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Experiments were carried out to assess whether polymer-encapsulated PC12 cells, a catecholaminergic cell line derived from a rat pheochromocytoma, could survive in vitro as well as in vivo after implantation in the striatum of adult guinea pigs. When maintained in vitro, the encapsulated PC12 cells exhibited good survival, proliferated, and spontaneously released dopamine for at least 6 months. They also retained the capacity for depolarization-elicited dopamine release. In vivo, well-preserved tyrosine hydroxylase-positive PC12 cells were observed in capsules implanted for 4, 8, and 12 weeks. Unencapsulated PC12 cells or cells in nonintact capsules did not survive transplantation at any of these time periods. The survival of encapsulated PC12 cells transplanted across species suggests that polymer encapsulation may provide an alternative for xenotransplantation of secretory cells in the absence of systemic immunosuppression.