Efficient production of mesencephalic dopamine neurons by Lmx1a expression in embryonic stem cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Signaling factors involved in CNS development have been used to control the differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into mesencephalic dopamine (mesDA) neurons, but tend to generate a limited yield of desired cell type. Here we show that forced expression of Lmx1a, a transcription factor functioning as a determinant of mesDA neurons during embryogenesis, effectively can promote the generation of mesDA neurons from mouse and human ESCs. Under permissive culture conditions, 75%-95% of mouse ESC-derived neurons express molecular and physiological properties characteristic of bona fide mesDA neurons. Similar to primary mesDA neurons, these cells integrate and innervate the striatum of 6-hydroxy dopamine lesioned neonatal rats. Thus, the enriched generation of functional mesDA neurons by forced expression of Lmx1a may be of future importance in cell replacement therapy of Parkinson disease.


  • Stina Friling
  • Elisabet Andersson
  • Lachlan Thompson
  • Marie Jönsson
  • Josephine Hebsgaard
  • Evanthia Nanou
  • Zhanna Alekseenko
  • Ulrika Marklund
  • Susanna Kjellander
  • Nikolaos Volakakis
  • Outi Hovatta
  • Abdeljabbar El Manira
  • Anders Björklund
  • Thomas Perlmann
  • Johan Ericson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurosciences


  • Parkinson, neuroscience, intrinsic determinant, magnetic bead sorting, disease, transplantation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7613-7618
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch