Based largely upon studies done in rats, a number of medical centers are now performing autografts of adrenal medullary tissue in consenting patients with Parkinson's disease. However, a systematic experimental evaluation of adrenal medullary autografts in nonhuman primates is necessary. This study provides a detailed analysis of the implant site at the fine structural level 30 days post-transplantation in the Cebus monkey. Five normal and two 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,5,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated Cebus monkeys received adrenal medullary autografts using an open microsurgical approach (n = 3) or via stereotactic placement with a tissue carrier (n = 4). Analysis of preimplant samples of the adrenal medulla confirmed that viable chromaffin cells were implanted into the basal ganglia. However, 30 days later, the implant site resembled a chronic inflammatory focus, with grafted chromaffin cells identified ultrastructurally in only two of the seven transplanted monkeys. The grafted cells showed overt signs of cellular degeneration and were surrounded by phagocytic macrophages. All of the implant sites, regardless of the surgical approach, were filled with macrophages, cells of hematogenous origin, and fibrous astrocytes. The vasculature of the implant site was of the nonfenestrated type, characteristic of the host striatum. Despite the poor survival of implanted chromaffin cells, robust sprouting of tyrosine hydroxylase-like immunoreactive fibers was evident in the striatum adjacent to the implant site (see accompanying manuscript, M. S. Fiandaca, J. H. Kordower, J. T. Hansen, S.-S. Jiao, and D.M. Gash, 1988, Exp. Neurol. 102: 76-91), suggesting that implantation may have precipitated a host response that was beneficial to the transplanted animal. Additional studies that provide a better understanding of the cellular elements residing in the implant site and their potential for trophic influence seem warranted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience