A Dopaminergic Cell Line for Transplantation Therapy of PD

Zuo-Zhong Wang, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh

The goal of this research is to develop a rich source of neural grafts that can be used to restore neurotransmitter deficits in the brain of patients afflicted with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The main objective of this research project is to genetically produce large quantities of dopamine-secreting cells of the carotid body and test their usefulness fro transplantation therapy of Parkinson’s disease.The specific aims of this proposal are: 1) To establish an immortalized golmus cell line of the carotid body using the H-2Kb-tsA58 transgenic mouse (Immortomouse); 2) to transplant the immortal, dopamine-secreting cells to the striatum of animal models of Parkinson's disease and test their therapeutical effects in ameliorating the symptoms of the disease; 3) to characterize the growth and differentiation properties of the cell grafts in the brain and their ability to restore impaired neuronal connections. Completion of the project will allow us to obtain enough data to compete for NIH funding to initiate in-depth study for the potential use of immortal cells in transplantation therapy of human patients. As none of the existing treatments for Parkinson's disease is ideal and satisfactory, establishment of a dopamine-secreting cell line that survives better in the brain may open a new avenue for the effective control of this common neurological disorder.