Dopaminergic neuron regeneration using cell therapy in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic neurodegenerative movement disorder caused by the loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons located within the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) of the midbrain. Current treatments involving drug therapy only temporarily alleviate the symptoms and does not treat the etiology of the disease. Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) hold vast promise in cell therapy due to their multipotency and immunomodulatory properties. We hypothesize that MSCs can be induced to differentiate into DA neuron progenitors which can be transplanted into the SNpc to treat PD. In this project, we propose to develop a method to differentiate MSCs into DA neuron progenitors, as well as investigate their safety and efficacy when injected into a neonatal animal model of PD developed in our lab. The results of this study will aid in devising strategies to replace degenerated neurons, and to reverse and/or halt the progression of PD.
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