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Transplantation of Mesencephalic Cell Suspension in Dopamine-Denervated Striatum of the Rat:I. Effects on Spontaneous Activity of Striatal Neurons

Experimental Neurology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1006/exnr.1996.0070
  • Biology


Abstract These studies have examined the extent to which intrastriatal grafts of embryonic mesencephalic neurons induce recovery of normal discharge patterns in striatal neurons of rats after a unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesion of the nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) pathway. Lesioned rats were tested for rotational behavior induced by amphetamine and apomorphine. Animals which responded positively to these tests received two suspensions of mesencephalic embryonic neurons into the dorsal striatum (ST) ipsilateral to the denervated side. Sham-grafted rats received the suspension medium only. The vitality of the graft was assessed by the disappearance or reversion of rotational movements induced by amphetamine. Extracellular recordings of neurons located throughout the ST were carried out 3 months after grafting, when the animals reached the age of 6 months. The 6-OHDA-induced nigral lesion caused a net increase both in the number of striatal neurons spontaneously active and in their discharging rates. The signs of increased neuronal activity were also present in sham-grafted animals. The grafting of embryonal cells strongly reduced the number of active neurons and decreased significantly their discharging rate. The effects of the intrastriatal graft appeared to be present within a radius of 1.5–2 mm from the core of the grafted area. The presence of tyrosine-hydroxylase-immunopositive neurons innervating the host ST confirmed the viability of the grafts at the time of electrophysiological recording. The results show that besides compensating motor asymmetries caused by DA denervation, intrastriatally grafted dopaminergic neurons are able to only partially restore the electrophysiological action of DA in discrete striatal domains.

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