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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 384216, 11 pages
Review Article

GABAergic Neuronal Precursor Grafting: Implications in Brain Regeneration and Plasticity

1Department of Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine, Andalusian Center for Molecular Biology and Regenerative Medicine (CABIMER), 41092 Seville, Spain
2Stem Cell and Neurogenesis Unit, Division of Neuroscience, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, 20132 Milan, Italy

Received 23 February 2011; Accepted 11 April 2011

Academic Editor: Graziella Di Cristo

Copyright © 2011 Manuel Alvarez Dolado and Vania Broccoli. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Numerous neurological disorders are caused by a dysfunction of the GABAergic system that impairs or either stimulates its inhibitory action over its neuronal targets. Pharmacological drugs have generally been proved very effective in restoring its normal function, but their lack of any sort of spatial or cell type specificity has created some limitations in their use. In the last decades, cell-based therapies using GABAergic neuronal grafts have emerged as a promising treatment, since they may restore the lost equilibrium by cellular replacement of the missing/altered inhibitory neurons or modulating the hyperactive excitatory system. In particular, the discovery that embryonic ganglionic eminence-derived GABAergic precursors are able to disperse and integrate in large areas of the host tissue after grafting has provided a strong rationale for exploiting their use for the treatment of diseased brains. GABAergic neuronal transplantation not only is efficacious to restore normal GABAergic activities but can also trigger or sustain high neuronal plasticity by promoting the general reorganization of local neuronal circuits adding new synaptic connections. These results cast new light on dynamics and plasticity of adult neuronal assemblies and their associated functions disclosing new therapeutic opportunities for the near future.