Cell-based therapies for Parkinson's disease

Expert Rev Neurother. 2011 Jun;11(6):831-44. doi: 10.1586/ern.11.33.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide, classically characterized by a triad of motor features: bradykinesia, rigidity and resting tremor. Neurodegeneration in PD critically involves the dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta, which results in a severe reduction in dopamine levels in the dorsal striatum. However, the disease also exhibits extensive non-nigral pathology and as many non-motor as motor features. Nevertheless, owing to the relatively circumscribed nature of the nigrostriatal lesion in PD, dopaminergic cell transplantation has emerged as a potentially reparative therapy for the disease. Sources for such cells are varied and include the developing ventral mesencephalon, several autologous somatic cell types, embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. In this article, we review the origins of dopaminergic transplantation for PD and the emergent hunt for a suitable long-term source of transplantable dopaminergic neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neural Stem Cells / transplantation*
  • Parkinson Disease / surgery*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*