Partial Reconstruction of the Nigrostriatal Circuit along a Preformed Molecular Guidance Pathway

Biswarup Ghosh, Chen Zhang, Kristine S. Ziemba, Anita M. Fletcher, David M. Yurek, George M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The overall goal of our research is to establish a preformed molecular guidance pathway to direct the growth of dopaminergic axons from embryonic ventral mesencephalon (VM), tissue placed within the substantia nigra (SN), into the striatum to reconstruct the nigrostriatal pathway in a hemi-Parkinson's disease rat model. Guidance pathways were prepared by injecting lentivirus encoding either GFP or a combination of glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) with either GDNF family receptor α1 (GFRα1) or netrin1. In another cohort of animals, adeno-associated virus (AAV) encoding brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was injected within the striatum after guidance pathway formation. GDNF combined with either GFRα1 or netrin significantly increased growth of dopaminergic axons out of transplants and along the pathway, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of amphetamine-induced rotations. Retrograde tract tracing showed that the dopaminergic axons innervating the striatum were from A9 neurons within the transplant. Increased dopaminergic innervation of the striatum and improved behavioral recovery were observed with the addition of BDNF. Preformed guidance pathways using a combination of GDNF and netrin1 can be used to reconstruct the nigrostriatal pathway and improve motor recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-227
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Therapy - Methods and Clinical Development
StatePublished - Sep 13 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by grants from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke ( R01 NS060784 to G.M.S. and R01 NS075871 and R01 NS050311 to D.M.Y.) and the Shriners Hospital for Pediatric Research grant SHC 84051 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019


  • BDNF
  • GDNF
  • Parkinson's disease
  • axon guidance
  • netrin1
  • nigral transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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