Navigation Links
Reprogramming brain cells important first step for new Parkinson's therapy
Date:12/13/2011

PHILADELPHIA - In efforts to find new treatments for Parkinson's Disease (PD), researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have directly reprogrammed astrocytes, the most plentiful cell type in the central nervous system, into dopamine-producing neurons. PD is marked by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain. Dopamine is a brain chemical important in behavior and cognition, voluntary movement, sleep, mood, attention, and memory and learning.

"These cells are potentially useful in cell-replacement therapies for Parkinson's or in modeling the disease in the lab," says senior author John Gearhart, PhD, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IRM) at Penn. The team reports their findings in PLoS One.

"Our study is the first to demonstrate conversion of astrocytes to midbrain dopaminergic neurons, opening the door for novel reprogramming strategies to treat Parkinson's disease," says first author Russell C. Addis, PhD, a senior research investigator with IRM.

A Different Approach

Parkinson's affects different areas of the brain but primarily attacks the dopamine-producing section called the substantial nigra. Cells in this region send dopamine to another region called the striatum, where it is used to regulate movement. The chemical or genetic triggers that kill dopamine neurons over time is at the heart of understanding the progressive loss of these specialized cells.

As many as one million people in the US live with PD, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. Symptoms include tremors, slowness of movements, limb stiffness, and difficulties with gait and balance.

Limited success in clinical trials over the last 15 years in transplanting fetal stem cells into the brains of Parkinson's disease patients has spurred researchers to look for new treatments. Using PET scans, investigators have been able to see that transplanted neurons grow and make connections, reducing symptoms for a time. Ethical issues about the source of embryonic stem cells; the interaction of cells with host cells; the efficiency of stems cells to reproduce, and their long-term viability and stability are all still concerns about trials using dopaminergic cell transplants to treat Parkinson's.

First Steps

In the first step towards a direct cell replacement therapy for Parkinson's, the team reprogrammed astrocytes to dopaminergic neurons using three transcription factors ASCL1, LMX1B, and NURR1 delivered with a lentiviral vector.

The process is efficient, with about 18 percent of cells expressing markers of dopaminergic neurons after two weeks. The next closest conversion efficiency is approximately 9 percent, which was reported in another study.

The dopamine-producing neurons derived from astrocytes showed gene expression patterns and electrophysiolgical properties of midbrain dopaminergic neurons, and released dopamine when their cell membranes were depolarized.

The Penn team is now working to see if the same reprogramming process that converts astrocytes to dopamine-producing neurons in a dish can also work within a living brain experiments will soon be underway using gene therapy vectors to deliver the reprogramming factors directly to astrocytes in a monkey model of PD.


'/>"/>

Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Discovery of a new reprogramming mechanism for tumor cells
2. Gadgets not related to teenagers brain pain
3. Dementia Rates Escalate as Brain Capacity Diminishes with Age
4. Researchers discover new way to kill pediatric brain tumors
5. Scientists Pinpoint Area of Brain That Fears Losing Money
6. Physical Changes in Brain Linked to Altered Spirituality
7. Pro Athletes Brains React at Olympic Speed
8. Neuroscientists reveal new links that regulate brain electrical activity
9. Brain Scan Shows What Beauty is Worth
10. Study supports alternative anti-seizure medication following acute brain injury
11. Exercise helps protect brain of multiple sclerosis patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Reprogramming brain cells important first step for new Parkinson's therapy
(Date:4/29/2017)... ... April 29, 2017 , ... TransDark is a set ... one video to the next without having to set a single keyframe in ... to enhance your video production. , TransDark features dynamic transitions that momentarily splits the ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2017 , ... An April 24th article on ... stunning 180 pounds with the help of a weight loss surgery. The woman, declaring “I ... skin that have been left following her dramatic weight loss. Dr. Feiz & Associates notes ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... , ... April 28, 2017 , ... Beginning in 2017, ... their formulas. This begins with the popular ClearLungs Extra Strength formula. To ensure that ... the formula in the following ways:, , Removal of the ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... Ushio America ... lamps offer an instant energy-saving solution for F32T8 fluorescent lamps on most instant-start ... ballasts. These 50,000 hour rated lamps utilize the existing electronic ballast, saving labor ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... From ... College of Urgent Care Medicine will host industry leaders for the annual spring ... help those in the industry adapt to the issues currently affecting urgent care ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... 20, 2017  Cogentix Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ: CGNT), ... the Urology, Uro/Gyn and Gynecology markets with innovative ... has joined the Company as Senior Vice President, ... position, Mr. Keswani will report directly to ... "Our organization is delighted that Ash has joined ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... , April 20, 2017  RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation ... therapeutics that address significant unmet medical needs, today ... the Company,s consumer product development program, based on ... Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID) 76 th ... and promote the sciences relevant to skin health ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... , April 20, 2017  AbbVie (NYSE: ... 99 percent (n=145/146) of chronic hepatitis C virus ... 5 or 6 and compensated cirrhosis (Child-Pugh A) ... (SVR 12 ) with its investigational, pan-genotypic regimen ... rates were seen following 12 weeks of G/P ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: