Tyrosinase, which catalyzes both the hydroxylation of tyrosine and consequent oxidation of L-DOPA to form melanin in melanocytes, is also expressed in the brain, and oxidizes L-DOPA and dopamine. Replacement of dopamine synthesis by tyrosinase was reported in tyrosine hydroxylase null mice. To examine the potential benefits of autograft cell transplantation for patients with Parkinson's disease, tyrosinase-producing cells including melanocytes, were transplanted into the striatum of hemi-parkinsonian model rats or mice lesioned with 6-hydroxydopamine. Marked improvement in apomorphine-induced rotation was noted at day 40 after intrastriatal melanoma cell transplantation. Transplantation of tyrosinase cDNA-transfected hepatoma cells, which constitutively produce L-DOPA, resulted in marked amelioration of the asymmetric apomorphine-induced rotation in hemi-parkinsonian mice and the effect was present up to 2 months. Moreover, parkinsonian mice transplanted with melanocytes from the back skin of black newborn mice, but not from albino mice, showed marked improvement in the apomorphine-induced rotation behavior up to 3 months after the transplantation. Dopamine-positive signals were seen around the surviving transplants in these experiments. Taken together with previous studies showing dopamine synthesis and metabolism by tyrosinase, these results highlight therapeutic potential of intrastriatal autograft cell transplantation of melanocytes in patients with Parkinson's disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)