Intrastriatal ventral mesencephalic xenografts of porcine tissue in rats: immune responses and functional effects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Transplantation of neural tissue from other species has the potential to improve function in patients with neurodegenerative disorders. We investigated the functional effects of embryonic porcine dopaminergic neurons transplanted in a rat model of Parkinson's disease and the immune responses to the grafts in immunosuppressed and nonimmunosuppressed hosts. Twenty-three rats with unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesions received dissociated, 27-day-old embryonic porcine ventral mesencephalic tissue in the right striatum. Eighteen rats received cyclosporine (10 mg/kg, IP, daily) during the whole period of 14 weeks, in combination with prednisolone (20 mg/kg, IP, daily) the first 4 days. Five rats served as nonimmunosuppressed controls. All rats were tested for amphetamine-induced rotational behavior at 3-week intervals. Two immunosuppressed rats were excluded due to severe side effects of the treatment. Functional recovery was seen in 9 of 16 immunosuppressed rats at 12 weeks. Six animals remained functionally recovered at 14 weeks and contained an average of 5750+/-1450 (SEM) dopaminergic neurons. Between 9 and 14 weeks, three immunosuppressed rats rejected their grafts, based on rotation scores and immunohistochemical demonstration of cell infiltrates. One additional immunosuppressed rat showed evidence of ongoing rejection at 14 weeks. The striata in animals with ongoing or recent rejection contained large numbers of CD4- and CD8-positive lymphocytes, NK cells, macrophages, and microglia cells, whereas scar tissue was found in rats with grafts rejected at earlier time points (n = 11). Embryonic porcine ventral mesencephalic tissue matures in the adult rat striatum, reinnervates the host brain, and restores behavioral defects. Immunosuppressive treatment was necessary for long-term graft survival and functional recovery, but did not sufficiently protect from rejection mechanisms. Porcine neural tissue is an interesting alternative to embryonic human tissue for intracerebral transplantation in neurodegenerative diseases. However, to achieve stable graft survival in discordant xenogeneic combinations, an appropriate immunosuppressive treatment or donor tissue modifications are needed.


External organisations
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurosciences


  • Animals, Behavior, Animal, Brain Tissue Transplantation, Corpus Striatum, Female, Fetal Tissue Transplantation, Graft Rejection, Graft Survival, Humans, Mesencephalon, Parkinsonian Disorders, Pregnancy, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Swine, Transplantation, Heterologous, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-72
Number of pages12
JournalCell Transplantation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000 May 16
Publication categoryResearch