Israelis discover proteins that promote dopamine secretion in study that has potential applications for Parkinson’s disease cell-replacement therapy.

Cell discovery holds out promise for Parkinson’s therapy

By —— Bio and Archives--April 17, 2018

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Cell discovery holds out promise for Parkinson’s therapy
An Israeli-led international study featured on the cover of The Journal of Neuroscience in February, holds the promise of advancing the field of cell-replacement therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

PD, which affects millions of people worldwide, causes devastating motor symptoms due to a loss of dopamine-secreting brain cells (dopaminergic neurons). Although there is no cure for PD, its symptoms can be treated.


Over the past few years, scientists discovered that human stem cells can be differentiated into dopaminergic neurons for modeling of Parkinson’s disease, drug screening and cell replacement therapy.

However, the yield of stem cell-derived dopaminergic neurons is low due to a poor understanding of the molecular mechanisms directing the embryonic development of dopaminergic neurons. This significantly limits the potential of cell-replacement therapy for PD.

In the new study, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers discovered that proteins called BMP5/7 are essential for the embryonic development of dopaminergic neurons.

More efficient programming of stem cells

“Notably, we demonstrated that BMP5/7 robustly increase the differentiation of human-induced pluripotent and induced neural stem cells to dopaminergic neurons,” said lead author Dr. Claude Brodski of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences and the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience.— More….



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