Constructing a new nigrostriatal pathway in the Parkinsonian model with bridged neural transplantation in substantia nigra

Feng C. Zhou, Yung H. Chiang, Yun Wang

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59 Citations (Scopus)


The physical repair and restoration of a completely damaged pathway in the brain has not been achieved previously. In a previous study, using excitatory amino acid bridging and fetal neural transplantation, we demonstrated that a bridged mesencephalic transplant in the substantia nigra generated an artificial nerve pathway that reinnervated the striatum of 6- hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-lesioned rats. In the current study, we report that a bridged mesencephalic transplant can anatomically, neurochemically, and functionally reinstate the 6-OHDA-eradicated nigro-striatal pathway. An excitatory amino acid, kainic acid, laid down in a track during the transplant generated a trophic environment that effectively guided the robust growth of transplanted neuronal fibers in a bundle to innervate the distal atriatum. Growth occurred at the remarkable speed of ~200 μm/d. Two separate and distinct types of dopamine (DA) innervation from the transplant have been achieved for the first time: (1) DA innervation of the striatum, and (2) DA innervation of the pars reticularis of the substantia nigra. In addition, neuronal tracing revealed that reciprocal connections were achieved. The grafted DA neurons in the SNr innervated the host's striatum, whereas the host's striatal neurons, in turn, innervated the graft within 3- 8 weeks. Electrochemical volt- ammetry recording revealed the restoration of DA release and clearance in a broad striatal area associated with the DA reinnervation. Furthermore, the amphetamine-induced rotation was attenuated, which indicates that the artificial pathways were motor functional. This study provides additional evidences that our bridged transplantation technique is a potential means for the repair of a completely damaged neuronal pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6965-6974
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • dopamine
  • excitatory amino acid
  • HRP/immunocytochemistry double staining
  • neural transplant
  • pathway repair
  • rotational behavior
  • voltammetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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