Fetal Pig Neural Cells as a Restorative Therapy for Neurodegenerative Disease


2 Diacrin, Inc., Building 96, Thirteenth Street, Charlestown, MA 02129, U.S.A.


Abstract: With proper immunosuppression, interspecies transplantation of porcine as well as other species of neural cells survive, mature, and integrate into the host in a manner which reconstructs much of the appropriate neural circuitry. These transplants have been shown to alleviate many of the symptoms of various disorders of the central nervous system. In this study, we addressed immunological and maturation issues with regards to intracerebral transplantation of fetal porcine neural cells. First, we compared fetal neural xenograft survival in athymic nude rats versus rats immunosuppressed with cyclosporin A and found that there is little discernible difference between porcine grafts in the 2 recipients. We also found that ectopic transplantation of cells isolated from the porcine striatal primor-dium can survive and develop into grafts composed of both neuronal and glial phenotypes within the rat hippocampus. This fact raises the possibility that cells of a particular neurotransmitter type (e.g., GABAergic cells) developing from the striatal precursor cells can be transplanted outside the striatum of the adult brain and have physiological effects.