Testing alternatives: the use of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells to slow neurodegeneration in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease

  • Fatma Y. Meligy
  • Dalia A. ElgamalEmail author
  • Eman S. H. Abd Allah
  • Naglaa K. Idriss
  • Nagwa M. Ghandour
  • Ehab M. R. Bayoumy
  • Azza Sayed Abdelrehim Khalil
  • Mohamed M. El Fiky
  • Mostafa Elkhashab
Original Article


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of anti-Parkinson treatments gradually diminishes owing to the progressive degeneration of the dopaminergic terminals. The research described here investigated the effect of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AD-MSC) versus that of an anti-Parkinson drug in a rat model of Parkinsonism. Forty adult rats were divided into four equal groups, each group receiving a different treatment: vehicle, rotenone, rotenone + AD-MSC, or rotenone + carbidopa/levodopa. Behavioral tests were carried out before and at the end of the treatment and specimens harvested from the midbrain were processed for light and electron microscopy. Genetic expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and Nestin mRNA was assessed. Expression of the Lamin-B1 and Vimentin genes was measured, along with plasma levels of Angiopoietin-2 and dopamine. Treatment with rotenone induced pronounced motor deficits, as well as neuronal and glial alterations. The AD-MSC group showed improvements in motor function in the live animals and in the microscopic picture presented by their tissues. The fold change of both genes (GFAP and Nestin) decreased significantly in the AD-MSC and carbidopa/levodopa groups compared to the group with Parkinson’s disease. Plasma levels of Angiopoietin-2 and dopamine were significantly increased after treatment (P < 0.001) compared to levels in the rats with Parkinson’s disease. AD-MSC reduced neuronal degeneration more efficiently than did the anti-Parkinson drug in a rat model of Parkinsonism.


Pole test Rotarod Substantia nigra Electron microscopy GFAP Nestin fold change 



Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells


Parkinson’s disease


Cerebral peduncle


Substantia nigra


Substantia nigra pars compacta


Substantia nigra pars reticulate


Tyrosine hydroxylase


Glial fibrillary acidic protein






Fluorescence-activated cell sorting


Blood–brain barrier



The authors thank Professor Sanaa A. M.Elgayar for her support in electron microscopy processing and examination.


This research received no funding from any funding agencies.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Ethical approval

The study protocol was approved by the Ethical Committee of the Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University. Assiut, Egypt. Approval reference number; 17300077.

Informed consent

The donors of the adipose tissue from which the MSCs were separated gave written informed consent prior to the study for their use and publication of the data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Histology and Cell Biology, Faculty of MedicineAssiut UniversityAssiutEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Medical Physiology, Faculty of MedicineAssiut UniversityAssiutEgypt
  3. 3.Department of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of MedicineAssiut UniversityAssiutEgypt
  4. 4.Department of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology, Faculty of MedicineAssiut UniversityAssiutEgypt
  5. 5.Department of Plastic Surgery, Faculty of MedicineAssiut UniversityAssiutEgypt
  6. 6.Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Health and Rehabilitation SciencesPrincess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  7. 7.Department of Anatomy and Embryology, Faculty of MedicineMenoufia UniversityMenoufiaEgypt
  8. 8.Department of NeurosurgeryHackensack University Medical CenterHackensackUSA

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