Cell Transplantation for Parkinson's Disease

From ScienceDaily: "scientists transplanted embryonic neurons from fetal rats into an area of the adult rat brain known as the striatum, which integrates excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitter signals to control movement. In Parkinson's disease, cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine are damaged, and thus unable to project their communication wires, or axons, to the region. As a result, the balance of excitation and inhibition in the striatum is lost, causing the motor deficits that are a primary symptom of the disease. ... the transplanted embryonic neurons migrated and integrated into the correct neural circuitry of the striatum, matured into so-called GABAergic inhibitory interneurons, and dampened the over-excitation in the region. The rats had improved motor function, as seen in their balance, speed, and length of stride during walking. Moreover, the healthy 'control' rats in which the cells had been transplanted took longer strides and ran faster on a runway test." This won't be the last time that transplant of fetal or embryonic cells shows benefits in normal recipients as well as those suffering from disease - all the more reason to understand how to reprogam adult cells to look more like fetal cells.

Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100325143233.htm

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