Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Patent - bcl-XL induction of dopaminergic neurons

Progress in stem cell biology research is enhancing our ability to generate specific neuron types for basic and applied studies and to design new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. In the case of Parkinson’s disease (PD), alternative human dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons other than primary fetal tissue do not yet exist. One possible source could behumanneural stem cells (hNSCs), although the yieldin DAergic neurons and their survival are very limited.

In this study, we found that Bcl-XL enhances (one-to-two orders of magnitude) the capacity for spontaneous dopaminergic differentiation of hNSCs, which then exceeds that of cultured human ventral mesencephalic tissue. Bcl-XL also enhanced total neuron generation by hNSCs, but to a lower extent. Neuronal phenotypes other than DA were not affected by Bcl-XL , indicating an exquisitely specific effect on DAergic neurons. In vivo, grafts of Bcl-XL-overexpressing hNSCs do generate surviving human TH neurons in the adult rat 6-OHdopamine lesioned striatum, something never seen when naive hNSCs were transplanted. Most of the data obtained here in terms of the effects of Bcl-XL are consistent with an enhanced survival type of mechanism and not supportive of induction, specification, or proliferation of DAergic precursors.

From this in vitro and in vivo evidence, we conclude that enhancing Bcl-XL expression is important to obtain human DAergic neurons from hNSCs. These findings may facilitate the development of drug-screening and cell-replacement activities to discover new therapeutic strategies for PD.

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Reported by

Autonomous University of Madrid
CBMSO-Campus Cantoblanco
E28049 Madrid
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