Survival and engraftment of mouse embryonic stem cell-derived implants in the guinea pig brain
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alpha-Mannosidosis is a lysosomal storage disease resulting from a deficiency of the enzyme alpha-D-mannosidase. A major feature of alpha-mannosidosis is progressive neurological decline, for which there is no safe and effective treatment available. We have a guinea pig model of alpha-mannosidosis that models the human condition. This study investigates the feasibility of implanting differentiated mouse embryonic stem cells in the neonatal guinea pig brain in order to provide a source of alpha-mannosidase to the affected central nervous system. Cells implanted at a low dose (1.5 x 10(3)cells per hemisphere) at 1 week of age were found to survive in very low numbers in some immunosuppressed animals out to 8 weeks. Four weeks post-implantation, cells implanted in high numbers (10(5) cells per hemisphere) formed teratomas in the majority of the animals implanted. Although implanted cells were found to migrate extensively within the brain and differentiate into mature cells of neural (and other) lineages, the safety issue related to uncontrolled cell proliferation precluded the use of this cell type for longer-term implantation studies. We conclude that the pluripotent cell type used in this study is unsuitable for achieving safe engraftment in the guinea pig brain.