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The effect of noradrenaline depletion on motor impairment and dopamine cell loss in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease.

Shin EJ, Rogers, J, Björklund A, Carta M (2013) The effect of noradrenaline depletion on motor impairment and dopamine cell loss in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease. Neuroscience 2013 Abstracts 623.12. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Summary: Objective: Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been mainly known as a neurodegenerative disease with loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra. However, studies of post mortem PD brains have shown that not only DA neurons but also the noradrenergic (NA) neurons in the locus coeruleus degenerate, and that the NA neurodegeneration may be as profound, and also precedes degeneration of the midbrain DA neurons. The early involvement of the NA system is also in line with the caudal-to-rostral disease progression predicted by the model proposed by Braak et al. Hence, we have investigated the effect of NA depletion on motor deficits and DA cell loss in a rat PD model. Methods: To generate two lesion paradigms, rats were injected with a dopamine toxin, 6-OHDA in striatum and/or a NA toxin, DBH-saporin in lateral ventricles. Animals have been tested in a battery of behavioural tests to check the degree of motor impairment. Perfused tissues were then subjected to immunohistochemistry to assess the amount of degeneration in striatal DA fiber and nigral DA neurons. Results: In three motor tests (cylinder, amphetamine-induced rotation, and corridor tests) there was no significant difference in motor deficit between groups. However, the DA- and NA-lesioned animals showed more severe motor deficits than the DA-lesioned animals in stepping, staircase, and rotarod tests. Post mortem analysis revealed that NA depletion did not affect the degree of DA loss in striatum and substantia nigra determined by optical densitometry with tyrosine hydroxylase staining and stereological cell estimation with vesicular monoamine transporter staining, respectively. These results suggest that Parkinsonian-like motor symptoms could be worsened by NA degeneration but it is not due to more profound DA cell degeneration upon NA removal but maybe by dysregulated DA cell function.

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