Neuronal transplantation is an approach that can be exploited to study the development of the human central nervous system as well as being used in attempts to restore neurological function. In the present study, we have examined cellular events that appear to precede the development of dopamine nerve fiber extension by neurons from the human fetal ventral mesencephalon. These cellular events were examined using neuronal cell suspensions from human fetal ventral mesencephalic tissue (gestational ages 7-10 weeks) transplanted into the striatum of unilaterally lesioned 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) rats. Animals were sacrificed for immunohistochemistry 9-10 weeks after the transplantation prior to the manifestation of behavioral recovery. Histological analysis revealed tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactive neurons in the grafts. The majority of these neurons had very short TH positive processes (60-70 um), indicating that the maturation of grafted dopaminergic neurons was still incomplete. Immunostaining for the human specific intermediate neurofilament (hNF, clone: BF-10) showed dense neuronal fibers in the grafts. These fibers extended deeper into the host brain than the TH positive neuronal processes. The whole striatum, particularly the medial part of the striatum, exhibited long NF positive processes. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunohistochemistry revealed fine astrocytic processes inside the grafts, which were clearly different from host reactive glial cells surrounding the grafts. These graft-derived glial processes tended to extend into the host brain deeper than the TH positive neuronal processes from the grafts. These early histological findings of the grafted human fetal ventral mesencephalon suggest that the graft-derived NF positive neuronal processes, as well as the glial processes, radiate from the grafted tissue and extend into the host brain prior to the extension of TH positive processes. These results further suggest that human-to-rat xenografts can be used to study the neural development of human fetal brain tissue.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authorsw ishto thankJ oan Aanderuda ndLinda King for their expertc lericala nd administrativaes sis-tancea nd Mike McPhee for technicaal ssistanceT.h is work was supportedin part by PHS grant R01-NS-24464( WCL), the SUPER Fund, and funds from Hal Seth and the Miller Foundation.
- Experimental parkinsonism
- Human fetus
- Neural graft
- Tyrosine hydroxylase
- Ventral mesencephalon