Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by the selective loss of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra; however, the mechanism of neurodegeneration in PD remains unclear. A subset of familial PD is linked to mutations in PARK2 and PINK1, which lead to dysfunctional mitochondria-related proteins Parkin and PINK1, suggesting that pathways implicated in these monogenic forms could play a more general role in PD. We demonstrate that the identification of disease-related phenotypes in PD-patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived midbrain dopamine (mDA) neurons depends on the type of differentiation protocol utilized. In a floor-plate-based but not a neural-rosette-based directed differentiation strategy, iPSC-derived mDA neurons recapitulate PD phenotypes, including pathogenic protein accumulation, cell-type-specific vulnerability, mitochondrial dysfunction, and abnormal neurotransmitter homeostasis. We propose that these form a pathogenic loop that contributes to disease. Our study illustrates the promise of iPSC technology for examining PD pathogenesis and identifying therapeutic targets.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.