Dopaminergic-primed fetal liver mesenchymal stromal-like cells can reverse parkinsonian symptoms in 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned mice

Cytotherapy. 2016 Mar;18(3):307-19. doi: 10.1016/j.jcyt.2015.11.007.


Background aims: Cell replacement therapy is considered a promising alternative in the treatment of degenerative diseases, and in this context, mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been proposed for transplantation in Parkinson disease (PD). Thus far, the results of animal studies are found to be inconsistent and inconclusive regarding the therapeutic ability of the cells. This study investigated the efficacy of fetal liver (FL)-MSC-derived dopaminergic (DA) neuronal primed cells for correction of parkinsonian symptoms in mice.

Methods: FL-MSCs were differentiated for 21 days in the presence of a combination of neurotropic factors. The extent of cellular reprogramming was analyzed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction for DA-specific neuronal gene expressions and protein expressions by immuno-cytochemistry. The functionality of the cells was determined by electrophysiology and dopamine release assays. Ten-day-primed neuron-like cells or unprimed MSCs were transplanted into the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-lesioned striatum using a stereotaxic device. Dopamine-secreting properties and behavioral studies were used to assess improvement of parkinsonian symptoms.

Results: The differentiated cells expressed DA-specific genes and proteins, while exhibiting a high level of voltage-gated potassium current. Furthermore, neuronal primed cells differentiated into tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive and dopamine-secreting functional neuron-like cells. Symptomatic correction of PD in the recipient mice within 2 months of transplantation was also observed.

Discussion: FL-MSC-derived primed neuron-like cells integrated into the striatum of PD mice, improving parkinsonian symptoms. This study demonstrates an effective cell-based therapy for PD.

Keywords: 6-OHDA; Apomorphine-induced rotation; Differentiation; Dopamine secretion; Dopaminergic neurons; Fetal liver MSCs; Parkinson disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transdifferentiation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dopamine / pharmacology*
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / drug effects
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / metabolism
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / physiology
  • Female
  • Fetus / cytology*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / embryology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation* / methods
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Oxidopamine
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / chemically induced
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / pathology
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Oxidopamine
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Dopamine