Toward a restorative therapy for Parkinson´s disease. Studies on the functional efficacy of intracerebral fetal cell transplants and GDNF delivery.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


Parkinson´s disease is characterized by a progressive degeneration of the nigral dopaminergic system. Treatment of disease symptoms using L-DOPA frequently induces side effects such as L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia. New therapeutic approaches are aimed at preventing neurodegeneration or restoring the dopaminergic system by fetal dopaminergic transplants. In this thesis work, we evaluated the neuroprotective capacity of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in the rat Parkinson model. Delayed short-term treatment with glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor provided long-term rescue of nigral dopaminergic neurons. Nigral administration of GDNF, however, did not prevent the dopaminergic fibre loss in the striatum, and thus, functional recovery was not obtained. We also evaluated the functional efficacy of fetal transplants in the rat Parkinson model. Multiple intrastriatal microtransplants of fetal dopaminergic cells induced pronounced functional improvements. Complete normalization of all cellular and behavioural parameters, however, was not obtained which may be due to the ectopic transplant location. Mulitple intranigral transplants of fetal dopaminergic or fetal GABA-rich striatal tissue also induced improvements of lesion-induced deficits, which are proposed to be due to local intranigral mechanisms. We also characterized a rat model of L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia to show that incidence of dyskinesia, latency to develop dyskinesia, and expression of dyskinesia subtypes depends on the magnitude of striatal dopaminergic denervation. The findings of this thesis have implications for the development of effective new therapies for Parkinson´s disease.


  • Christian Winkler
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurosciences


  • Neurology, neuropsychology, Neurologi, neuropsykologi, neurofysiologi, neurophysiology, dyskinesia, L-DOPA, behaviour, transplantation, neuroprotection, GDNF, substantia nigra, striatum
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2002 Oct 5
  • Department of Physiological Sciences, Lund University
Print ISBNs91-628-5358-9
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2002-10-05 Time: 09:15 Place: Segerfalksalen, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center External reviewer(s) Name: Kordower, Jeffrey H. Title: Prof Affiliation: Chicago, USA --- Article: 1. Winkler C, Sauer H, Lee CS, Björklund A. (1996) Short-term GDNF treatment provides long-term rescue of lesioned nigral dopaminergic neurons in a rat model of Parkinson´s disease. Journal of Neuroscience 16: 7206-7215. Article: 2. Winkler C, Bentlage C, Nikkhah G, Samii M, Björklund A. (1999) Intranigral transplants of GABA-rich striatal tissue induce behavioral recovery in the rat Parkinson model and promote the effects obtained by intrastriatal dopaminergic transplants. Experimental Neurology 148: 187-204. Article: 3. Winkler C, Bentlage C, Cenci MA, Nikkhah G, Björklund A. (2002) Regulation of neuropeptide mRNA expression in the basal ganglia by intrastriatal and intranigral transplants in the rat Parkinson model. Submitted for publication. Article: 4. Kirik D, Winkler C, Björklund A. (2001) Growth and functional efficacy of intrastriatal nigral transplants depend on the extent of nigrostriatal degeneration. Journal of Neuroscience 21: 2889-2896. Article: 5. Winkler C, Kirik D, Björklund A, Cenci MA. (2002) L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in the intrastriatal 6-hydroxydopamine model of Parkinson´s disease: relation to motor and cellular parameters of nigrostriatal function. Neurobiology of Disease 10: 165-186.