We show that human embryonic stem cell-derived dopaminergic neurons survived transplantation to the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rat striatum and, in combination with the cells newly differentiated from their progenitors, contributed to locomotive function recovery at 5 months. The animal behavioral improvement was correlated with the dopamine neurons present in the graft. Although the donor cells contained forebrain and midbrain dopamine neurons, the dopamine neurons present in the graft mainly exhibited a midbrain, or nigra, phenotype, suggesting the importance of midbrain dopamine neurons in functional repair. Furthermore, progenies of grafted cells were neurons and glia with greatly diminished mitotic activity by 5 months. Thus, the in vitro-produced human dopamine neurons can functionally engraft in the brain.
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