Formidable challenges for Parkinson's disease (PD) research are to understand the processes underlying nigrostriatal degeneration and how to protect the dopamine neurons. Fundamental research relies on good animal models that demonstrate the pathological hallmarks and motor deficits of PD. Using a chronic regimen of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine and probenecid (MPTP/p) in mice, dopamine cell loss exceeds 60%, extracellular glutamate is elevated, cytoplasmic inclusions are formed and inflammation is chronic. Nevertheless, isradipine, an L-type calcium-channel blocker, attenuates the degeneration. These data support the validity of the MPTP/p model for unravelling the degenerative processes in PD and testing therapies that slow their progress.
Keywords: probenecid, L-type calcium channel, grid test, alpha-synuclein, substantia nigra, dopamine, isradipine