29 September 2020

Mice cured of parkinsonism

Stem cells relieved mice of symptoms of Parkinson's disease

Svetlana Maslova, Hi-tech+

Successful treatment of animals proves the potential effectiveness of the therapeutic approach for humans. In addition to Parkinson's disease, the method can be adapted for other diseases with brain damage, including stroke and trauma.

American scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have shown that human stem cells transplanted into mice integrate well into the rodent brain and form natural connections with other neurons there, removing the symptoms of the disease.

Article by Xiong et al. Human Stem Cell-Derived Neurons Repair Circuits and Restore Neural Function is published in the journal Cell Stem Cell – VM.

"Neurological injuries usually affect certain areas of the brain and cell types, disrupting communication between them. To treat these diseases, it is necessary to restore the broken relationships," the authors explain the essence of therapy.

To do this, they grew dopamine-producing neurons from human stem cells and transplanted them into the brains of mice with symptoms of Parkinson's disease. In this disease, dopamine neurons die, causing neurodegeneration, the researchers explain.

A few months later, scientists saw that the new neurons were well integrated into the brain and restored the motor functions of rodents.

The nerve cells formed the necessary connections inside the brain regions, which spread over long distances. At the same time, the structure of these connections resembled natural neural networks.


To finally make sure that the treatment worked, the scientists turned off the transplanted dopamine neurons. This led to the fact that the improvements in the motor function of the mice disappeared.

The results obtained prove that the new therapeutic approach has the potential to treat people with Parkinson's disease. Currently, the team is already testing the treatment on primates.

On the other hand, treatment can be adapted for other neurological diseases. "Each such disease or injury will require specialized nerve cells, but the treatment plan will be similar in many ways. We used Parkinson's disease as a model, but the principle is the same for many neurological disorders," the authors concluded.

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