Cell replacement therapy could be an important treatment strategy for Parkinson's disease (PD), which is caused by the degeneration of dopamine neurons in the midbrain (mDA). The success of this approach greatly relies on the discovery of an abundant source of cells capable of mDAergic function in the brain. With the paucity of available human fetal tissue, efforts have increasingly focused on renewable stem cells. Human induced pluripotent stem (hiPS) cells offer great promise in this regard. If hiPS cells can be differentiated into authentic mDA neuron, hiPS could provide a potential autologous source of transplant tissue when generated from PD patients, a clear advantage over human embryonic stem (hES) cells. Here, we report that mDA neurons can be derived from a commercially available hiPS cell line, IMR90 clone 4, using a modified hES differentiation protocol established in our lab. These cells express all the markers (Lmx1a, Aldh1a1, TH, TrkB), follow the same mDA lineage pathway as H9 hES cells, and have similar expression levels of DA and DOPAC. Moreover, when hiPS mDA progenitor cells are transplanted into 6-OHDA-lesioned PD rats, they survive long term and many develop into bona fide mDA neurons. Despite their differentiation and integration into the brain, many Nestin+ tumor-like cells remain at the site of the graft. Our data suggest that as with hES cells, selecting the appropriate population of mDA lineage cells and eliminating actively dividing hiPS cells before transplantation will be critical for the future success of hiPS cell replacement therapy in PD patients.
Recommended CitationCai, Jingli; Yang, Ming; Poremsky, Elizabeth; Kidd, Sarah; Schneider, Jay S; and Iacovitti, Lorraine, "Dopaminergic neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells survive and integrate into 6-OHDA-lesioned rats." (2010). Farber Institute for Neurosciences Faculty Papers. Paper 6.