Parkinson's disease

Parkinson’s disease is a slowly progressing neurodegenerative disorder of the brain. It is characterized by the death of neurons in brain areas with high dopamine, primarily affecting the substantia nigra pars compacta. As scientists demonstrated using a stem-cell based disease model, the slow death of the nerve cells is triggered by an increased oxidant stress in the nerve cells leading to the malfunction of the mitochondria (responsible for the energy supply of the cells) and the lysosomes (responsible for the degradation of consumed cell components). The lack of the neurotransmitter dopamine resulting from the death of the cells engenders the typical symptoms of decreased bodily movement (hypokinesia), physical inactivity, up to immobility (akinesia). In addition, the lack of dopamine causes varying concentrations of neurotransmitters: the high concentrations of acetylcholine and glutamate in the affected person’s body trigger shaking (tremor) and muscle rigidity (rigor).

Therapies involving embryonic stem cells are one of the present research approaches to the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. For example, in the study conducted by Tabar et al. in 2008, 187 embryonic stem cell lines from 24 parkinsonian mice were established via somatic cell nuclear transfer. These cell lines were used to differentiate neuronal precursor cells necessary for the production of dopamine. After injection of these cells into the actual donor mouse no notable immune reactions could be detected. In fact, a significant palliation of the parkinsonian symptoms was observed. To what extent the results are applicable to the treatment of Parkinson’s disease in humans is currently being analysed in various studies, including different types of stem cells. 

For the research of the development of Parkinson's disease see: 

Burbulla, Lena F. / Song, Pingping / Mazzulli, Joseph R. / Zampese, Enrico / Wong, Yvette C. / Jeon, Sohee / Santos, David P. / Blanz, Judith / Obermaier, Carolin D. / Strojny, Chelsee / Savas, Jeffrey N. / Kiskinis, Evangelos / Zhuang, Xiaoxi / Krüger, Rejko / Surmeier, D. James / Krainc, Dimitri (2017): Dopamine oxidation mediates mitochondrial and lysosomal dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease. In: Science [online veröffentlicht am 07. September 2017]. doi: 10.1126/science.aam9080 Online Version 

For the study on mice involving hES-cells derived via somatic cell nuclear transfer see: 

Tabar, Viviane / Tomishima, Mark / Panagiotakos, Georgia / Wakayama, Sayaka / Menon, Jayanthi / Chan, Bill / Mizutani, Eiji / Al-Shamy, George / Ohta, Hiroshi / Wakayama, Teruhiko / Studer, Lorenz (2008): Therapeutic cloning in individual parkinsonian mice. In: Nature Medicine 14, 379–381 Online Version 

For a study on primates with iPS cells see:

Kikuchi, Tetsuhiro/ Morizane, Asuka/ Doi, Daisuke/ Magotani, Hiroaki/ Onoe, Hirotaka/ Hayashi, Takuya/ Mizuma, Hiroshi/ Takara, Sayuki/ Takahashi, Ryosuke/ Inoue, Haruhisa/ Morita, Satoshi/ Yamamoto, Michio/ Okita, Keisuke/ Nakagawa, Masato/ Parmar, Malin/ Takahashi, Jun (2017): Human iPS cell-derived dopaminergic neurons function in a primate Parkinson’s disease model. In: Nature 548, 592–596, doi:10.1038/nature23664 Online Version 

For a description of the current state-of-art and the involved types of stem cells as well as an assessment of quality criteria for clinical trials and application see:

Barker, Roger A./ Parmar, Malin/ Kirkeby, Agnete/ Björklund, Anders/ Thompson, Lachlan/ Brundin, Patrik (2016): Are Stem Cell-Based Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease Ready for the Clinic in 2016? In: Journal of Parkinson's disease 6(1), 57–63. doi: 10.3233/JPD-160798 Online Version 

Shen, Yan/ Huang, Jinsha/ Liu, Ling/ Xu, Xiaoyun/ Han,Chao/ Zhang, Guoxin/ Jiang, Haiyang/ Li, Jie/ Lin, Zhicheng/ Xiong, Nian/ Wang, Tao (2016): A Compendium of Preparation and Application of Stem Cells in Parkinson’s Disease: Current Status and Future Prospects. In: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 8(117). doi:10.3389/fnagi.2016.00117 Online Version 

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