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Bernardo Stutz, Fabio Silva Lima da Conceição, Luís Eduardo Santos, Daniel Veloso Cadilhe, Renata L. Fleming, Mariana Acquarone, Patrícia F. Gardino, Ricardo A. de Melo Reis, Phillip W. Dickson, Peter R. Dunkley, Stevens Rehen, Jean-Christophe Houzel and Fernando G. de Mello Murine dopaminergic Müller cells restore motor function in a model of Parkinson's disease Journal of Neurochemistry 128

Version of Record online: 24 OCT 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/jnc.12475

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Müller cells are the main glial cells in the retina. When these cells are cultured in the absence of neurons, they spontaneously express proteins of the dopaminergic phenotype, including the enzymes tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), L-DOPA-decarboxylase (DDC) and the dopamine transport system (DAT). In this study, we show this phenomenon is observed with Müller cells obtained from different species, including primates, and address the therapeutic potential of these cells, using a mouse model of Parkinson's disease (PD). ‘Dopaminergic Müller cells’ synthesize dopamine and release most of this neurotransmitter to the extracellular space, constituting a natural dopaminergic ‘pump’. When transplanted to the striatum of PD mice, Müller cells decreased their apomorphine-induced rotational behavior and restored their overall motor functions, measured by rotarod and forelimb use asymmetry tests. Local restoration of dopaminergic signaling was also observed in grafted PD mice, by measuring striatum dopamine and its metabolite (DOPAC) levels (SB: 20µm).

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