You are here

Increasing Dopamine Levels in Induced Ventral Midbrain Cells

Making high‐quality dopamine‐producing cells for basic studies or small molecule screening remains critical to the development of novel therapeutics for ventral midbrain disorders. However, many ventral midbrain assays suffer from low signal to noise ratio thanks to low levels of dopamine and tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate‐limiting enzyme for dopamine synthesis. In their new STEM CELLS Translational Medicine study, researchers led by Carl Ernst (McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada) now demonstrate that an L‐type calcium agonist can significantly increase tyrosine hydroxylase protein levels as well as dopamine content and release from ventral midbrain cells derived from human skin. Jefri et al. hope that this advance will improve the accuracy of disease modeling and small molecule screening for disorders of the ventral midbrain, including Parkinson's disease.