Grafts of fetal dopamine neurons survive and improve motor function in Parkinson's disease

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Science  02 Feb 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4942, pp. 574-577
DOI: 10.1126/science.2105529


Neural transplantation can restore striatal dopaminergic neurotransmission in animal models of Parkinson's disease. It has now been shown that mesencephalic dopamine neurons, obtained from human fetuses of 8 to 9 weeks gestational age, can survive in the human brain and produce marked and sustained symptomatic relief in a patient severely affected with idiopathic Parkinson's disease. The grafts, which were implanted unilaterally into the putamen by stereotactic surgery, restored dopamine synthesis and storage in the grafted area, as assessed by positron emission tomography with 6-L-[18F]fluorodopa. This neurochemical change was accompanied by a therapeutically significant reduction in the patient's severe rigidity and bradykinesia and a marked diminuation of the fluctuations in the patient's condition during optimum medication (the "on-off" phenomenon). The clinical improvement was most marked on the side contralateral to the transplant.

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