Transplantation of human embryonic stem cell-derived dopaminergic neurons is an attractive strategy to realize the potential of cell therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. The main goal is to replace dopaminergic neurons lost in the brain of PD patients. While ectopic grafting is sufficient to trigger recovery of several PD-relevant assays, the graft is likely be deprived of many physiological afferent inputs. Transplantation directly into the substantia nigra would therefore reflect a more physiological approach.
The focus of my research is to systematically optimize and validate my approach of grafting purified dopaminergic progenitors into the substantia of rodent model of Parkinson’s Disease, to reconstitute the nigro-striatal pathway and to assess the extent of behavioral recovery.