The present study was undertaken to investigate the phenotypic expression and integration of human striatal neurons transplanted into an animal model of Huntington's disease. Sprague-Dawley rats were anesthetized and subjected to quinolinic acid lesions of the left striatum. Three human fetal cadavers were utilized for transplantation in this study (7,8, and 10 weeks in gestation). The striatal primordia was dissected from each fetus and subsequently dissociated into cell suspensions. Following the initial lesion surgeries (3-4 months), the rats were reanesthetized and transplanted with human striatal cells (400,000 cells per rat). The animals were processed for histochemical analysis 9-17 weeks posttransplantation. Histochemistry was performed utilizing thionin (Nissl staining), acetylcholinesterase, NADPH-diaphorase, and antibodies against tyrosine hydroxylase and glial fibrillary acidic protein. Examination of stained brain sections demonstrate that human striatal transplants grow to fill a substantial portion of the remaining striatum, and contain clusters of immature and mature cells. Acetylcholinesterase activity is present in the transplant neuropil, varying in intensity, and distributed in a heterogeneous fashion. In addition, host afferent dopaminergic fibers penetrate into the transplant, and are occasionally found in patches. NADPH-diaphorase histochemistry revealed medium sized aspiny striatal neurons of donor origin in the transplants. The results of this study are similar to those obtained with rodent fetal striatal transplants, and suggest that human striatal tissue is capable of surviving, expressing normal striatal cell phenotypes, and receiving host dopaminergic innervation.
- Quinolinic acid
- Tyrosine hydroxylase