From fibroblast to neuron: The use of stem cells for Parkinson's disease
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One of the characterizations of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the motor symptoms caused by the loss of the dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta. The disease affects about 1% of the world population above 60 years old and is second most common neurodegenerative disorder, after Alzheimers disease. The mechanisms underlying the pathology of PD are not well understood and there is no available cure up tot this date. The rather selective loss of the dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta makes the disease suitable for cell-replacement therapies. Currently pluripotent stem cells represent the most promising source for the derivation of dopaminergic neurons. Human embryonic stem cells are the best studied type of pluripotent stem cells and have been successfully transplanted into animal models for PD, however another type of pluripotent stem cells, namely induced pluripotent stem cells, hold a greater potential for personalized patient-specific stem cells therapy and disease-specific disease modeling.