Cell-mediated delivery of brain-derived neurotrophic factor enhances dopamine levels in an MPP+ rat model of substantia nigra degeneration

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Neuroregeneration Laboratory

Publication Date


Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promotes the survival of fetal mesencephalic dopaminergic cells and protects dopaminergic neurons against the toxicity of MPP+ in vitro. Supranigral implantation of fibroblasts genetically engineered to secrete BDNF attenuates the loss of substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) dopaminergic neurons associated with striatal infusion of MPP+ in the adult rat. Using this MPP+ rat model of nigral degeneration, we evaluated the neurochemical effects of supranigral, cell-mediated delivery of BDNF on substantia nigra (SN) dopamine (DA) content and turnover. Genetically engineered BDNF-secreting fibroblasts (approximately 12 ng BDNF/24 h) were implanted dorsal to the SN 7 days prior to striatal MPP+ administration. The present results demonstrate that BDNF-secreting fibroblasts, as compared to control fibroblasts, enhance SN DA levels ipsilateral as well as contralateral to the graft without altering DA turnover. This augmentation of DA levels suggests that local neurotrophic factor delivery by genetically engineered cells may provide a therapeutic strategy for preventing neuronal death or enhancing neuronal function in neurodegenerative diseases characterized by dopaminergic neuronal dysfunction, such as Parkinson's disease.


Cell Transplant. 1996 Mar-Apr;5(2):225-32.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Cell transplantation

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Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID