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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2015, Article ID 563820, 6 pages
Review Article

Foetal Cell Transplantation for Parkinson’s Disease: Focus on Graft-Induced Dyskinesia

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of Physiology, Cagliari University, SS 554, km 4.500, 09042 Monserrato, Italy

Received 26 June 2015; Revised 2 December 2015; Accepted 16 December 2015

Academic Editor: Marjan Jahanshahi

Copyright © 2015 Elisabetta Tronci et al. 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.


Transplantation of dopamine- (DA-) rich foetal ventral mesencephalic cells emerged as a promising therapy for Parkinson’s disease (PD), as it allowed significant improvement of motor symptoms in several PD patients in open-label studies. However, double-blind clinical trials have been largely disappointing. The general agreement in the field is that the lack of standardization of tissue collection and preparation, together with the absence of postsurgical immunosuppression, played a key role in the failure of these studies. Moreover, a further complication that emerged in previous studies is the appearance of the so-called graft-induced dyskinesia (GID), in a subset of grafted patients, which resembles dyskinesia induced by L-DOPA but in the absence of medication. Preclinical evidence pointed to the serotonin neurons as possible players in the appearance of GID. In agreement, clinical investigations have shown that grafted tissue may contain a large number of serotonin neurons, in the order of half of the DA cells; moreover, the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor agonist buspirone has been found to produce significant dampening of GID in grafted patients. In this paper, we will review the recent preclinical and clinical studies focusing on cell transplantation for PD and on the mechanisms underlying GID.