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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 873706, 9 pages
Review Article

Parkinson's Disease and Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Potential for Cell-Based Therapy

Department of Stem Cell Biology and Histology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai 980-8575, Japan

Received 3 September 2011; Accepted 14 November 2011

Academic Editor: Lachlan Thompson

Copyright © 2012 Masaaki Kitada and Mari Dezawa. 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.


Cell transplantation is a strategy with great potential for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, and many types of stem cells, including neural stem cells and embryonic stem cells, are considered candidates for transplantation therapy. Mesenchymal stem cells are a great therapeutic cell source because they are easy accessible and can be expanded from patients or donor mesenchymal tissues without posing serious ethical and technical problems. They have trophic effects for protecting damaged tissues as well as differentiation ability to generate a broad spectrum of cells, including dopamine neurons, which contribute to the replenishment of lost cells in Parkinson's disease. This paper focuses mainly on the potential of mesenchymal stem cells as a therapeutic cell source and discusses their potential clinical application in Parkinson's disease.