Enhancement of survival of stored dopaminergic cells and promotion of graft survival by exposure of human fetal nigral tissue to glial cell line—derived neurotrophic factor in patients with Parkinson's disease

Report of two cases and technical considerations

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  • 1 Departments of Surgery (Neurosurgery), Medicine (Neurology), Anaesthesia, and Gynaecology, Dalhousie University and Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre; Neural Transplantation Laboratory, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Departments of Community Health and Epidemiology, and Pharmacology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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✓ The authors have studied the ability of glial cell line—derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) to promote survival of human fetal dopaminergic tissue after a storage period of 6 days and subsequent implantation into the human putamen. The results indicate that GDNF promotes survival of stored dopaminergic cells. Cells stored without GDNF had a 30.1% decrease in survival time compared with those exposed to GDNF. Two patients with Parkinson's disease received bilateral putaminal implants of fetal dopaminergic cells exposed to GDNF for 6 days and showed enhancement of graft survival as assessed by positron emission tomography scanning. A mean increase of 107% in putaminal fluorodopa uptake from baseline values was observed 12 months postgrafting.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Ivar Mendez, M.D., Ph.D., Division of Neurosurgery, QEII Health Sciences Centre, New Halifax Infirmary, 1796 Summer Street, Room #3806, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3A7, Canada. email: mendez@is.dal.ca.
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