Principal Investigators

    Arenas Ernest


    Karolinska Institute

    Contact information of lead PI



    Title of project or programme

    Wnt signaling in dopamine neuron development and Parkinson´s disease cell therapy

    Source of funding information

    Swedish Research Council

    Total sum awarded (Euro)

    € 870,511

    Start date of award


    Total duration of award in years


    The project/programme is most relevant to:

    Parkinson's disease & PD-related disorders


    Research Abstract

    Parkinson´s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons, the cell type that causes the classical motor symptoms of PD. Currently available treatments are symptomatic and do not change the progressive degeneration. We previously found that morphogens of the Wnt family of proteins improve the DA differentiation of stem cells. However the mechanisms by which they do that are largely unknown. We think that such mechanisms hold the key to improve the generation of DA neurons in vitro and their successful transplantation. In our project we thus propose to investigate: (1) How is the Wnt/Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signal is transduced in VM DA neurons. (2) The function of Wnt/PCP signaling in midbrain DA neuron development. (3) The role of Wnt signaling in midbrain DA neuron subtype specification. Next we plan to perform a screening for small molecules capable of activating Wnt/PCP signaling in vitro and in vivo. With this knowledge and tools we will then work to develop two novel methods for PD cell replacement therapy: (1) Improve the differentiation and functional integration of midbrain DA neurons derived from pluripotent stem cells. (2) Develop a method for the direct reprogramming of fibroblasts into midbrain DA neurons, which could be used for autologous transplantation in PD patients. Our final goal is to develop fundamental knowledge and novel therapies for PD.

    Lay Summary

    Further information available at:

Types: Investments > €500k
Member States: Sweden
Diseases: Parkinson's disease & PD-related disorders
Years: 2016
Database Categories: N/A
Database Tags: N/A

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