We have previously demonstrated that intranigral transplantation of fetal ventral mesencephalic (VM) tissue and nigrostriatal administration of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) restores striatal dopamine input in hemiparkinsonian rats. Since it has been found that GDNF is highly expressed in fetal kidney, we examined the possibility that fetal kidney tissue may provide trophic support, similar to GDNF, to an intranigral dopamine (DA) transplant and restore the nigrostriatal pathway. Adult Sprague-Dawley rats were anesthetized and unilaterally injected with 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the medial forebrain bundle. Completeness of the lesion was evaluated by measuring amphetamine-induced rotation. One month after 6-OHDA lesioning, fetal VM cells were grafted into the lesioned nigral area followed by transplantation of fetal kidney tissue or vehicle along a pathway from nigra to striatum. Animals receiving these transplants showed a significant decrease both in amphetamine-induced rotation and in postural asymmetry 1 to 3 months after grafting. Immunocytochemical studies demonstrated tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) positive fiber tracts in the lesioned striatum. Control animals that received vehicle injection after the intranigral graft or no transplantation showed no alterations in amphetamine-induced turning and no TH-positive fibers in the lesioned striatum. These results indicate that combinations of fetal nigral and kidney transplants may restore the nigrostriatal DA pathway in Parkinsonian rats. As fetal kidney contains a variety of trophic proteins, it may provide a synergistic admixture to optimally promote DA fiber outgrowth.
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