There have been many attempts at slowing down or even reversing the neurodegenerative process of Parkinson’s disease (PD). To date, there are no treatments of proven value in this regard. One underexplored route to slow the neurodegenerative process is the use of agents that may stimulate neurogenesis in the subventricular zone. In animal models of PD, PDGF-BB has been shown to restore/protect against dopaminergic deficits caused by neurotoxins via increased neurogenesis in the subventricular zone. Previous work suggests that these new cells are not themselves dopaminergic but have trophic effects on residual dopaminergic cells in the substantia nigra. In this issue of the JCI, Paul et al. evaluate this agent in individuals with PD and show that i.c.v. administration of PDGF-BB is safe and well tolerated. This study lays the foundation for formal dose-finding studies and clinical trials to assess the efficacy of this agent as a potential neuroprotective treatment for PD.
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