Parkinson's Tissue Transplant Shows Signs of Disease
Long-term study shows graft is susceptible to disease process
WEDNESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- The embryonic stem cell graft received by a woman with Parkinson's disease 14 years ago shows characteristic signs of the disease, suggesting that the graft is as susceptible as the host neurons to the disease process, according to a report published online April 6 in Nature Medicine.
Jeffrey H. Kordower, Ph.D., from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues examined the brain of a woman with Parkinson's disease who died of cardiac failure recently, 14 years after receiving a transplant of embryonic nigral cells into the striatum at 61 years of age. The patient had a 22-year history of Parkinson's disease at the time of transplant and initially had marked improvement but her motor function gradually deteriorated.
The researchers found that the grafted neurons exhibited Parkinson's-like pathology, with Lewy body-like inclusions that expressed alpha-synuclein and ubiquitin. The graft also had reduced expression of dopamine transporter, despite strong staining for dopaminergic neurons, and were filled with activated microglia.
"These pathological changes suggest that Parkinson's disease is an ongoing process that can affect grafted cells in the striatum in a manner similar to host dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra," Kordower and colleagues conclude.