Transplanted xenogeneic neural cells in neurodegenerative disease models exhibit remarkable axonal target specificity and distinct growth patterns of glial and axonal fibres

Nat Med. 1995 Nov;1(11):1189-94. doi: 10.1038/nm1195-1189.


Clinical trials are under way using fetal cells to repair damaged neuronal circuitry. However, little is known about how transplanted immature neurons can grow anatomically correct connections in the adult central nervous system (CNS). We transplanted embryonic porcine neural cells in vivo into adult rat brains with neuronal and axonal loss typical of Parkinson's or Huntington's disease. Using complementary species-specific cellular markers, we found donor axons and CD44+ astroglial fibres in host white matter tracts up to 8 mm from CNS transplant sites, although only donor axons were capable of reaching correct gray matter target regions. This work demonstrates that adult host brain can orient growth of transplanted neurons and that there are differences in transplant donor glial and axonal growth patterns in cellular repair of the mature CNS.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / ultrastructure*
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / surgery*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / surgery
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Huntington Disease / surgery
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Neurons / transplantation*
  • Parkinson Disease / surgery
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Swine
  • Transplantation, Heterologous*


  • Biomarkers