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Therapeutic Cloning Improves Parkinson's in Mice

Individually matched neurons improve parkinsonian phenotype

MONDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Individually matched neurons derived from embryonic stem cells made by therapeutic cloning can improve the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in mice, according to a report published online March 23 in Nature Medicine.

Viviane Tabar, M.D., from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York City, and colleagues produced Parkinson's disease in 24 mice and generated 187 embryonic stem cell lines by nuclear transfer using fibroblast nuclei from the mice that were injected into a mouse oocyte. Individually matched embryonic stem cells were then differentiated into midbrain dopamine neurons, which were grafted into the brains of six mice.

The researchers found that mice receiving the neurons had significant improvement in their parkinsonian phenotype in all behavioral tests. The grafts contained tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cells and no signs of an immunological response. However, the authors note that graft survival was low.

"Although technically complex, with an average interval of greater than 10 months from lesioning to transplantation endpoint, these data demonstrate the feasibility of treating individual parkinsonian mice via therapeutic cloning and suggest considerable therapeutic potential for the future," Tabar and colleagues conclude.

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