UF Researchers Harvest Stem-like Cells from Post-mortem Parkinson’s Disease Brains & DBS Leads

This was an interesting study by Dr. Wang in Dennis Steindler’s laboratory at the UF McKnight Brain Institute. This group was able to harvest stem-like cells from post-mortem brains (after-death brains donated by Parkinson’s disease patients), and also stem-like cells from discarded DBS leads. They were also able to place these cells successfully into an animal model. This is an article that appeared this month on the cover of the journal Brain Research. Here is the abstract:

Brain Res. 2012 Apr 27. [Epub ahead of print]
Neurogenic potential of progenitor cells isolated from postmortem human Parkinsonian brains.
Wang S, Okun MS, Suslov O, Zheng T, McFarland NR, Vedam-Mai V, Foote KD, Roper SN, Yachnis AT, Siebzehnrubl FA, Steindler DA.
Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Florida, Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, College of Medicine, USA.

The success of cellular therapies for Parkinson’s disease (PD) will depend not only on a conducive growth environment in vivo, but also on the ex vivo amplification and targeted neural differentiation of stem/progenitor cells. Here, we demonstrate the in vitro proliferative and differentiation potential of stem/progenitor cells, adult human neural progenitor cells (“AHNPs”) isolated from idiopathic PD postmortem tissue samples and, to a lesser extent, discarded deep brain stimulation electrodes. We demonstrate that these AHNPs can be isolated from numerous structures (e.g. substantia nigra, “SN”) and are able to differentiate into both glia and neurons, but only under particular growth conditions including co-culturing with embryonic stem cell-derived neural precursors (“ESNPs”); this suggests that PD multipotent neural stem/progenitor cells do reside within the SN and other areas, but by themselves appear to lack key factors required for neuronal differentiation. AHNPs engraft following ex vivo expansion and transplantation into the rodent brain, demonstrating their regenerative potential. Our data demonstrate the presence and capacity of endogenous stem/progenitor cells in the PD brain.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.