Multiple Target Sites for Neural Transplantation in the Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease


Ivar Mendez, M.D., Ph.D., FRCSC, FACS
Dalhousie University, Novia Scotia


One problem with transplanting neural cells is that even those that "take" cannot send their innervating axons far enough throughout the diseased nigrostriatal pathway. Dr. Ivar Mendez and his transplantation group at Dalhouse University (Hailfax, Nova Scotia) will implant lesioned rats in multiple brain sites in order to determine the best reinnervation strategy to optimize functional recovery. Utilizing such advances as magnetic resonance image-guided surgery with microelectrode recording systems should help them to optimze the clinical benefits.

Progress Report (as of 3/2003)

Dr. Ivar Mendez and his colleagues at Dalhousie University (Novia Scotia) have successfully attempted to add to the functional recovery of parkinsonian rats by grafting embryonic tissue into additional areas of the animals' brains. Previous intrastriatal-only grafting has not proved sufficient, in animals or human patients, to relieve all symptoms. This group used five targets for their studies, and the restoration of dopamine to these additional areas has resulted in more complete recovery of the animals. A scientific paper and two abstracts have been published from the study's data, as well as a review of neural transplantation for PD that emphasizes the benefits of multiple targeting. Their results should lead to better methods of restorative therapy for human patients.