Neuroepithelial stem cells derived from the swine mesencephalic neural tube were examined regarding their eligibility for neural xenografting as a donor material, with the aim of evaluating myelinated axon formation and both types of synaptic formation with xenogeneic host neurons as part of possible neural circuit reconstruction. The mesencephalic neural tube tissues were dissected out from swine embryos at embryonic days 17 and 18 and were implanted immediately into the striatum of the Parkinsonian model rat. The swine-derived grafts had many nestin-positive rosette-forming, neurofilament-positive, and tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cells in the rat striatum. Electron microscopic study revealed both efferent and afferent synaptic formations in the donor-derived immature neurons or tyrosine hydroxylase-positive donor cells in the grafts. Myelinated axons, both positive and negative for swine-specific neurofilament antibody, were mingled together in the graft. These results indicated that implanted neuroepithelial stem cells could survive well and divide asymmetrically into both nestin-expressing precursors and differentiated neurochemical marker-expressing neurons in the xenogeneic rat striatum, with the help of an immunosuppressant. Donor-derived immature neurons formed both efferent and afferent synapses with xenogeneic host neurons, and donor-derived axons were myelinated, which suggests that implanted swine neuroepithelial stem cells could possibly restore damaged neuronal circuitry in the diseased brain.
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