Date: 01 Feb 2006

Molecular imaging of cell transplantation in Parkinson’s disease

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Pathologically, Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterised mainly by degeneration of the nigrostriatal pathway in association with the formation of neuronal Lewy inclusion bodies in the substantia nigra pars compacta [1]. Implantation of dopamine-producing cells into the denervated striatum has been proposed to substitute for those mesencephalic dopamine neurons that have been lost as a consequence of the disease process. Although this idea may appear too simple, as neuronal lesions are not limited to the dopaminergic nigrostriatal pathway, animal and human studies have provided proof of principle that the grafted dopaminergic neurons reinnervate the lesioned striatum and provide significant and long-lasting improvement in motor function [24].

Early uncontrolled clinical reports of intrastriatal transplantation of human embryonic mesencephalic tissue were very encouraging, but in two subsequent NIH-sponsored double-blind trials, functional improvements were only marginal and “off medica ...

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