Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative
disorder after Alzheimer's disease and it is characterized by the progressive loss of
dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). Current pharmacological
treatments for PD are only symptomatic and unfortunately there is still no cure
for this disorder. Stem cell technology has become an attractive option to investigate and
treat PD. Indeed, transplantation of fetal ventral mesencephalic cells into PD brains have
provided proof of concept that cell replacement therapy can be beneficial for some
patients, greatly improving their motor symptoms. However, ethical and practical aspects
of tissue availability limit its widespread clinical use. Hence, the need of alternative
cell sources are based on the use of different types of stem cells. Stem cell-based
therapies can be beneficial by acting through several mechanisms such as cell replacement, trophic actions
and modulation of inflammation. Here we review recent and current remarkable clinical studies involving
stem cell-based therapy for PD and provide an overview of the different types of stem cells available nowadays,
their main properties and how they are developing as a possible therapy for PD treatment.
Keywords: Cell therapy, dopamine neurons, neurodegeneration, Parkinson's disease, stems cells.
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