The derivation of dopamine neurons is one of the best examples of the clinical potential of embryonic stem (ES) cells, but the long-term function of the grafted neurons has not been established. Here, we show that, after transplantation into an animal model, neurons derived from mouse ES cells survived for over 32 weeks, maintained midbrain markers, and had sustained behavioral effects. Microdialysis in grafted animals showed that dopamine (DA) release was induced by depolarization and pharmacological stimulants. Positron emission tomography measured the expression of presynaptic dopamine transporters in the graft and also showed that the number of postsynaptic DA D2 receptors was normalized in the host striatum. These data suggest that ES cell-derived neurons show DA release and reuptake and stimulate appropriate postsynaptic responses for long periods after implantation. This work supports continued interest in ES cells as a source of functional DA neurons.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology