Essay on Parkinson's Disease and Tissue Transplants

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For nearly 100 years neural tissue has been transplanted in animals. Transplantation of neural tissue into humans, however, began only a few years ago (1). It has been found in animals, that fetal brain grafts in damaged adult host brains reduce some of the functional deficits caused by brain lesions. Even though some neurons from the transplanted tissue survive and develop reciprocal connections with host brain tissue, this is not enough to completely replace damaged fibers and support behavioral recovery Usually the grafts will not develop a normal morphological appearance, but some metabolic activity can be found within the transplant. Release and diffusion of trophic substances from the transplant and the damaged host brain may …show more content…
Furthermore, adrenal medullary transplants have proved to be only minimally effective (4).

Fetal brain transplants have been more successful in animal and human studies, but ethical concerns have been raised. An alternative method using genetically engineered fibroblasts has been introduced. Although the fibroblasts may be used as a source of trophic factors or hormones, they lack neuronal properties that may be important in future development of neural transplants. A new technique has been devised to overcome these limitations: transplantation with temperature-sensitive immortalized clonal neural cells (4).

One example of this system was to use primary rat central nervous system cells immortalized with a temperature-sensitive Rous Sarcoma virus, cloned, and previously analyzed for neural and glial characteristics. The cells were not permissive for replication of the avian virus, however, expression of the viral genes did occur. The cells were transformed and immortalized at 34°C but differentiated at 38°C. Along with differentiation came a halt in cell division, extension of neurites, and the appearance of developmentally regulated molecules such as neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAL1) and the cellular isoform of a prion protein (4).

There would be many theoretical advantages to a temperature- sensitive cell system. There would be unlimited availability of cells and application to any transmitter system.

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