Strands of embryonic mesencephalic tissue show greater dopamine neuron survival and better behavioral improvement than cell suspensions after transplantation in parkinsonian rats

Brain Res. 1998 Sep 21;806(1):60-8. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(98)00717-3.


The success of embryonic neural transplants as a treatment for patients with Parkinson's disease has been limited by poor survival of transplanted dopamine neurons. To see if a new partially intact tissue preparation method improves survival, we have developed a technique for extruding embryonic tissue into strands. We expected this method to reduce cell damage and improve transplant survival as well as provide improved tissue delivery. We have compared transplants of tissue strands with mechanically dispersed suspensions of embryonic day 15 rat ventral mesencephalon. Tissue from ventral mesencephalon was transplanted into a single site in dopamine denervated striatum of unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesioned rats. To evaluate the effects of striatal cografts and growth factors on dopamine cell survival, dispersed mesencephalic cells were cotransplanted with dispersed striatal cells. Another group had dispersed mesencephalic cells cotransplanted with striatal cells incubated in the cold for 2 h with glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF, 100 ng/ml), insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I, 1500 ng/ml), and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF, 150 ng/ml). Behavioral improvement was assessed monthly by changes in methamphetamine-induced rotational behavior. Animals were sacrificed after 3 months, and dopamine neurons were identified by tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunohistochemistry. Transplants of tissue strands produced better dopamine neuron survival and led to more robust behavioral restoration than did cell suspensions even when suspensions were supported with cografts of striatal cells or pretreatment with growth factors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Cell Size / physiology
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Cell Transplantation*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Fetal Tissue Transplantation / methods*
  • Graft Survival / physiology
  • Male
  • Mesencephalon / cytology
  • Mesencephalon / embryology*
  • Mesencephalon / metabolism*
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Parkinson Disease / surgery*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stereotyped Behavior / physiology


  • Methamphetamine
  • Dopamine