Medical Terminations of Pregnancy: A Viable Source of Tissue for Cell Replacement Therapy for Neurodegenerative Disorders
Harrison, A. W.
Weyrauch, U. M.
Lane, E. L.
Kemp, P. J.
Cognizant Communication Corporation
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"Proof-of-principle" that cell replacement therapy works for neurodegeneration has been reported, but only using donor cells collected from fetal brain tissue obtained from surgical terminations of pregnancy. Surgical terminations of pregnancy represent an increasingly limited supply of donor cells due to the tendency towards performing medical termination in much of Europe. This imposes a severe constraint on further experimental and clinical cell transplantation research. Therefore, we explore here the feasibility of using medical termination tissue as a donor source. Products of conception were retrieved from surgical terminations over the last 7 years and from medical terminations over the last 2.5 years. The number of collections that yielded fetal tissue, viable brain tissue, and identifiable brain regions (ganglionic eminence, ventral mesencephalon, and neocortex) were recorded. We studied cell viability, cell physiological properties, and differentiation potential both in vitro and following transplantation into the central nervous system of rodent models of neurodegenerative disease. Within equivalent periods, we were able to collect substantially greater numbers of fetal remains from medical than from surgical terminations of pregnancy, and the medical terminations yielded a much higher proportion of identifiable and dissectible brain tissue. Furthermore, we demonstrate that harvested cells retain the capacity to differentiate into neurons with characteristics appropriate to the region from which they are dissected. We show that, contrary to widespread assumption, medical termination of pregnancy-derived fetal brain cells represent a feasible and more readily available source of human fetal tissue for experimental cell transplantation with the potential for use in future clinical trials in human neurodegenerative disease.
Cell Transplantation, Vol. 20, pp. 503–513, 2011
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