Dopaminergic Neurons Protected from Degeneration by GDNF Gene Therapy

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Science  07 Feb 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5301, pp. 838-841
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5301.838

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Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) supports growth and survival of dopaminergic (DA) neurons. A replication-defective adenoviral (Ad) vector encoding human GDNF injected near the rat substantia nigra was found to protect DA neurons from the progressive degeneration induced by the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) injected into the striatum. Ad GDNF gene therapy reduced loss of DA neurons approximately threefold 6 weeks after 6-OHDA lesion, as compared with no treatment or injection of Ad lacZ or Ad mGDNF (encoding a biologically inactive deletion mutant GDNF). These results suggest that Ad vector-mediated GDNF gene therapy may slow the DA neuronal cell loss in humans with Parkinson's disease.

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