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Grafting of nigral tissue hibernated with tirilazad mesylate and glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor

Petersén Å, Hansson O, Emgård M and Brundin P.

Cell Transplantation 9: 577-584 (2000)


Transplantation of embryonic ventral mesencephalon is a potential therapy for patients with Parkinson's disease. As only around 5-10% of embryonic dopaminergic neurons survive grafting into the adult striatum, it is considered necessary to use multiple donor embryos. To increase the survival of the grafted dopaminergic neurons, the clinical transplantation program in Lund currently employs the lipid peroxidation inhibitor, tirilazad mesylate, in all solutions used during tissue storage, preparation, and transplantation. However, the difficulty in obtaining a sufficient number of donor embryos still remains an important limiting factor for the clinical application of neural transplantation. In many clinical transplantation programs, it would be a great advantage if human nigral donor tissue could be stored for at least 1 week. This study was performed in order to investigate whether storage of embryonic tissue at 4 degrees C for 8 days can be applied clinically without creating a need to increase the number of donors. We compared the survival of freshly grafted rat nigral tissue, prepared according to the clinical protocol, with tissue transplanted after hibernation. Thus, in all groups tirilazad mesylate was omnipresent. One group of rats was implanted with fresh tissue and three groups with hibernated tissue with or without addition of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in the hibernation medium and/or the final cell suspension. Earlier studies have suggested that GDNF improves the survival of hibernated nigral transplants. We found no statistically significant difference between the groups regarding graft survival after 3 weeks. However, there was a nonsignificant trend for fewer surviving dopaminergic neurons in grafts from hibernated tissue compared to fresh controls. Furthermore, we show that the addition of GDNF to the hibernation medium and/or to the final cell suspension does not significantly increase the survival of the dopaminergic neurons.