This study was carried out as a prelude to possible implantations of cultured human fetal dopaminergic grafts in parkinsonian patients. Examination of fetal rat ventral mesencephalon tissue for morphology, viability, and dopamine content showed an optimal gestational age for neural grafting in rat experiments of approximately 17 days. Moreover, fetal rat ventral mesencephalon tissue was cultured, and neural dopaminergic cells were observed in cell culture in 4 (11 %) out of 36 ventral mesencephalon specimens derived from 15- to 21-day-old rat fetuses. Human fetal donor material from elective abortions was examined for morphology and cell culture possibilities. In 48 curettements, fetal tissue was seen in 34 (71%) of these, resulting in 17 (50%) cultures containing dopaminergic cells. Both fetal rat and human cell cultures were continued for approximately 8 weeks and appeared to remain positive upon immunocytochemical dopamine staining.

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