Yong-Hee Rhee, Ji-Yun Ko, Mi-Yoon Chang, Sang-Hoon Yi, Dohoon Kim, Chun-Hyung Kim, Jae-Won Shim, A-Young Jo, Byung-Woo Kim, Hyunsu Lee, Suk-Ho Lee, Wonhee Suh, Chang-Hwan Park, Hyun-Chul Koh, Yong-Sung Lee, Robert Lanza, Kwang-Soo Kim, Sang-Hun Lee
Parkinson disease (PD) involves the selective loss of midbrain dopamine (mDA) neurons and is a possible target disease for stem cell–based therapy. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are a potentially unlimited source of patient-specific cells for transplantation. However, it is critical to evaluate the safety of hiPSCs generated by different reprogramming methods. Here, we compared multiple hiPSC lines derived by virus- and protein-based reprogramming to human ES cells (hESCs). Neuronal precursor cells (NPCs) and dopamine (DA) neurons delivered from lentivirus-based hiPSCs exhibited residual expression of exogenous reprogramming genes, but those cells derived from retrovirus- and protein-based hiPSCs did not. Furthermore, NPCs derived from virus-based hiPSCs exhibited early senescence and apoptotic cell death during passaging, which was preceded by abrupt induction of p53. In contrast, NPCs derived from hESCs and protein-based hiPSCs were highly expandable without senescence. DA neurons derived from protein-based hiPSCs exhibited gene expression, physiological, and electrophysiological properties similar to those of mDA neurons. Transplantation of these cells into rats with striatal lesions, a model of PD, significantly rescued motor deficits. These data support the clinical potential of protein-based hiPSCs for personalized cell therapy of PD.