Dopamine-synthesizing neurons: An overview of their development and application for cell therapy

Document Type : Review Paper


Molecular Genetics Group, Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering Committee, National Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (NIGEB), Tehran, P.O. Box 14965/161, I.R. Iran.


Cell-gene therapy is a dynamic constituent of novel medical biotechnology. Neurodegenerative disorders
in which damage to or demise of specific brain cell types plays central role, are clear examples of disease
candidate for cell replacement therapy. Dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons biosynthesize dopamine, a vital
neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Due to the involvement of dopamine in a number of critical
physiological functions in human and other mammals, disturbed dopamine neurotransmission resulting from
DAergic neuron death or damage causes a few known disorders most prominently Parkinson’s disease (PD).
DAergic cell replacement therapies proposed as promising approaches for PD treatment have prompted scientists to thoroughly investigate the embryonic development of DAergic neurons and their function in ordinary life. This review summarizes past and current findings in DAergic neuron development and survival.
It also briefly looks at the future prospect of DAergic neuron generation in vitro aiming at clinical applications
in vivo.