Functional integration of striatal allografts in a primate model of Huntington's disease

Nat Med. 1998 Jun;4(6):727-9. doi: 10.1038/nm0698-727.


Huntington's disease is an autosomal dominant, inherited disorder that results in progressive degeneration of the basal ganglia (especially the neostriatal caudate nucleus and putamen) and other forebrain structures and is associated with a clinical profile of movement, cognitive and psychiatric impairments for which there is at present no effective therapy. Neuropathological, neurochemical and behavioral features of the disease can all be reproduced in experimental animals by local injection of excitotoxic or metabolic toxins into the neostriatum. All these features of the disease can be alleviated, at least in rats, by transplantation of embryonic striatal tissue into the degenerated striatum, which was the basis for commencing the first clinical trials of striatal transplantation in Huntington's patients. However, although rat striatal xenografts may temporarily reduce apomorphine-induced dyskinesias in monkeys, there has been no demonstration that allograft techniques that work well in rats translate effectively to the much larger differentiated striatum of primates. Here we demonstrate good survival, differentiation and integration of striatal allografts in the primate neostriatum, and recovery in a test of skilled motor performance. Long-term graft survival in primates indicates probable success for clinical transplants in Huntington's disease; in addition, our data suggest that graft placement has a direct influence on the pattern and extent of functional recovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Callithrix
  • Corpus Striatum / pathology
  • Corpus Striatum / physiopathology*
  • Corpus Striatum / transplantation*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Graft Survival / physiology
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Huntington Disease / therapy*
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Putamen / pathology
  • Putamen / physiopathology
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Homologous