Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, and as a consequence, by decreased dopamine levels in the striatum. Currently available therapies are not able to stop or reverse the progression of the disease. A novel therapeutic approach is based on cell therapy with stem cells, in order to replace degenerated neurons. Among stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells seemed the most promising thanks to their capacities to differentiate toward dopaminergic neurons and to release neurotrophic factors. Indeed, mesenchymal stem cells are able to produce different molecules with immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, angiogenic, chemotactic effects and that stimulate differentiation of resident stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells were isolated for the first time from bone marrow, but can be collected also from adipose tissue, umbilical cord and other tissues. In this review, we focused our attention on mesenchymal stem cells derived from different sources and their application in Parkinson's disease animal models.
- Journal Article