Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a debilitating movement disorder resulted from a progressive degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway and depletion of neurotransmitter dopamine in the striatum. Molecular cloning studies have identified nearly a dozen genes or loci that are associated with small clusters of mostly early onset and genetic forms of PD. The etiology of the vast majority of PD cases remains unknown and the precise molecular and biochemical processes governing the selective and progressive degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway is poorly understood. Current drug therapies for PD are symptomatic and appear to bear little impact on the progressive neurodegenerative process. Studies of post mortem PD brains and various cellular and animal models of PD in the last two decades strongly suggest that the generation of pro-inflammatory and neurotoxic factors by the resident brain immune cells, microglia, plays a prominent role in mediating the progressive neurodegenerative process. This review will discuss literature supporting the possibility of modulating the activity of microglia as a neuroprotective strategy for the treatment of PD.
Dopamine neuron; Parkinson’s disease; Movement disorder; Microglia; Neuroprotection; Free radical
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative movement disorder characterized by extensive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the nigrostriatal system. Neurochemical and neuropathological analyses clearly indicate that oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, neuroinflammation and impairment of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) are major mechanisms of dopaminergic degeneration. Evidence from experimental models and postmortem PD brain tissues demonstrates that apoptotic cell death is the common final pathway responsible for selective and irreversible loss of nigral dopaminergic neurons. Epidemiological studies imply both environmental neurotoxicants and genetic predisposition are risk factors for PD, though the cellular mechanisms underlying selective dopaminergic degeneration remain unclear. Recent progress in signal transduction research is beginning to unravel the complex mechanisms governing dopaminergic degeneration. During 12th International Neurotoxicology meeting, discussion at one symposium focused on several key signaling pathways of dopaminergic degeneration. This review summarizes two novel signaling pathways of nigral dopaminergic degeneration that have been elucidated using neurotoxicity models of PD. Dr. Anumantha Kanthasamy described a cell death pathway involving the novel protein kinase C delta isoform (PKCδ) in oxidative stress-induced apoptotic cell death in experimental models of PD. Dr. Ajay Rana presented his recent work on the role of mixed lineage kinase-3 (MLK3) in neuroinflammatory processes in neurotoxic cell death. Collectively, PKCδ and MLK3 signaling pathways provide new understanding of neurodegenerative processes in PD, and further exploration of these pathways may translate into effective neuroprotective drugs for the treatment of PD.
Protein kinase Cδ; MLK3; Parkinson’s disease; neurotoxicity; Dieldrin; Manganese; environmental factors; Translational research
What drives the gradual degeneration of dopamine neurons in Parkinson's disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disease, remains elusive. Here, we demonstrated, for the first time, that persistent neuroinflammation was indispensible for such neurodegenerative process. 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and rotenone, three toxins often used to create PD models, produced acute but nonprogressive neurotoxicity in neuron-enriched cultures. In the presence of microglia (brain immune cells), these toxins induced progressive dopaminergic neurodegeneration. More importantly, such neurodegeneration was prevented by removing activated microglia. Collectively, chronic neuroinflammation may be a driving force of progressive dopaminergic neurodegeneration. On the other hand, ongoing neurodegeneration sustained microglial activation. Microglial activation persisted only in the presence of neuronal damage in LPS-treated neuron-glia cultures, but not in LPS-treated mixed-glia cultures. Thus, activated microglia and damaged neurons formed a vicious cycle mediating chronic, progressive neurodegeneration. Mechanistic studies indicated that HMGB1 (high-mobility group box 1), released from inflamed microglia and/or degenerating neurons, bound to microglial Mac1 (macrophage antigen complex 1) and activated NF-κB pathway and NADPH oxidase to stimulate production of multiple inflammatory and neurotoxic factors. The treatment of microglia with HMGB1 led to membrane translocation of p47 (a cytosolic subunit of NADPH oxidase) and consequent superoxide release, which required the presence of Mac1. Neutralization of HMGB1 and genetic ablation of Mac1 and gp91phox (the catalytic submit of NADPH oxidase) blocked the progressive neurodegeneration. Our findings indicated that HMGB1-Mac1-NADPH oxidase signaling axis bridged chronic neuroinflammation and progressive dopaminergic neurodegeneration, thus identifying a mechanistic basis for chronic PD progression.
Parkinson's disease; microglia; Mac1; HMGB1; NADPH oxidase; neurodegeneration
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the progressive loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra. Although the exact cause of the dopaminergic neurodegeneration remains elusive, recent postmortem and experimental studies have revealed an essential role for neuroinflammation that is initiated and driven by activated microglial and infiltrated peripheral immune cells and their neurotoxic products (such as proinflammatory cytokines, reactive oxygen species, and nitric oxide) in the pathogenesis of PD. A bacterial endotoxin-based experimental model of PD has been established, representing a purely inflammation-driven animal model for the induction of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurodegeneration. This model, by itself or together with genetic and toxin-based animal models, provides an important tool to delineate the precise mechanisms of neuroinflammation-mediated dopaminergic neuron loss. Here, we review the characteristics of this model and the contribution of neuroinflammatory processes, induced by the in vivo administration of bacterial endotoxin, to neurodegeneration. Furthermore, we summarize the recent experimental therapeutic strategies targeting endotoxin-induced neuroinflammation to elicit neuroprotection in the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. The potential of the endotoxin-based PD model in the development of an early-stage specific diagnostic biomarker is also emphasized.
Sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder with unknown cause, but it has been suggested that neuroinflammation may play a role in pathogenesis of the disease. Neuroinflammatory component in process of PD neurodegeneration was proposed by postmortem, epidemiological and animal model studies. However, it remains unclear how neuroinflammatory factors contribute to dopaminergic neuronal death in PD.
In this study, we analyzed the relationship among inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)-derived NO, mitochondrial dysfunction and dopaminergic neurodegeneration to examine the possibility that microglial neuroinflammation may induce dopaminergic neuronal loss in the substantia nigra. Unilateral injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the striatum of rat was followed by immunocytochemical, histological, neurochemical and biochemical analyses. In addition, behavioral assessments including cylinder test and amphetamine-induced rotational behavior test were employed to validate ipsilateral damage to the dopamine nigrostriatal pathway. LPS injection caused progressive degeneration of the dopamine nigrostriatal system, which was accompanied by motor impairments including asymmetric usage of forelimbs and amphetamine-induced turning behavior in animals. Interestingly, some of the remaining nigral dopaminergic neurons had intracytoplasmic accumulation of α-synuclein and ubiquitin. Furthermore, defect in the mitochondrial respiratory chain, and extensive S-nitrosylation/nitration of mitochondrial complex I were detected prior to the dopaminergic neuronal loss. The mitochondrial injury was prevented by treatment with L-N6-(l-iminoethyl)-lysine, an iNOS inhibitor, suggesting that iNOS-derived NO is associated with the mitochondrial impairment.
These results implicate neuroinflammation-induced S-nitrosylation/nitration of mitochondrial complex I in mitochondrial malfunction and subsequent degeneration of the nigral dopamine neurons.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder predominantly affecting the elderly. The aetiology of the disease is not known, but age and environmental factors play an important role. Although more than a dozen gene mutations associated with familial forms of Parkinson's disease have been described, fewer than 10% of all cases can be explained by genetic abnormalities. The molecular basis of Parkinson's disease is the loss of dopamine in the basal ganglia (caudate/putamen) due to the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, which leads to the motor impairment characteristic of the disease. Methamphetamine is the second most widely used illicit drug in the world. In rodents, methamphetamine exposure damages dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, resulting in a significant loss of dopamine in the striatum. Biochemical and neuroimaging studies in human methamphetamine users have shown decreased levels of dopamine and dopamine transporter as well as prominent microglial activation in the striatum and other areas of the brain, changes similar to those observed in PD patients. Consistent with these similarities, recent epidemiological studies have shown that methamphetamine users are almost twice as likely as non-users to develop PD, despite the fact that methamphetamine abuse and PD have distinct symptomatic profiles.
Research in the last two decades has unveiled an important role for neuroinflammation in the degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway that constitutes the pathological basis of the prevailing movement disorder, Parkinson's disease (PD). Neuroinflammation is characterized by the activation of brain glial cells, primarily microglia and astrocytes that release various soluble factors that include free radicals (reactive oxygen and nitrogen species), cytokines, and lipid metabolites. The majority of these glia-derived factors are proinflammatory and neurotoxic and are particularly deleterious to oxidative damage-vulnerable nigral dopaminergic neurons. As a proof of concept, various immunologic stimuli have been employed to directly induce glial activation to model dopaminergic neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease. The bacterial endotoxin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), has been the most extensively utilized glial activator for the induction of inflammatory dopaminergic neurodegeneration. In this review, we will summarize the various in vitro and in vivo LPS PD models. Furthermore, we will highlight the contribution of the LPS PD models to the mechanistic studies of PD pathogenesis and the search for neuroprotective agents for the treatment of PD.
dopamine; lipopolysaccharide; microglia; neuroinflammation; neuroprotection
We have developed an animal model of degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons, the neuronal system involved in Parkinson's disease (PD). The implication of neuroinflammation on this disease was originally established in 1988, when the presence of activated microglia in the substantia nigra (SN) of parkinsonians was reported by McGeer et al. Neuroinflammation could be involved in the progression of the disease or even has more direct implications. We injected 2 μg of the potent proinflammatory compound lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in different areas of the CNS, finding that SN displayed the highest inflammatory response and that dopaminergic (body) neurons showed a special and specific sensitivity to this process with the induction of selective dopaminergic degeneration. Neurodegeneration is induced by inflammation since it is prevented by anti-inflammatory compounds. The special sensitivity of dopaminergic neurons seems to be related to the endogenous dopaminergic content, since it is overcome by dopamine depletion. Compounds that activate microglia or induce inflammation have similar effects to LPS. This model suggest that inflammation is an important component of the degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system, probably also in PD. Anti-inflammatory treatments could be useful to prevent or slow down the rate of dopaminergic degeneration in this disease.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). With the exception of a few rare familial forms of the disease, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying PD are unknown. Inflammation is a common finding in the PD brain, but due to the limitation of post mortem analysis its relationship to disease progression cannot be established. However, studies using the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) model of PD have also identified inflammatory responses in the nigrostriatal pathway that precede neuronal degeneration in the SNpc. To assess the pathological relevance of these inflammatory responses and to identify candidate genes that might contribute to neuronal vulnerability, we used quantitative real-time PCR to measure mRNA levels of 11 cytokine and chemokine encoding genes in the striatum of MPTP-sensitive (C57BL/6J) and MPTP-insensitive (SWR) mice following administration of MPTP. The mRNA levels of all 11 genes changed following MPTP treatment, indicating the presence of inflammatory responses in both strains. Furthermore, of the 11 genes examined only three, Il-6, Mip-1α/Ccl3 and Mip-1β/Ccl4, were differentially regulated between C57BL/6J and SWR mice. In both mouse strains, the level of Mcp-1/Ccl2 mRNA was the first to increase following MPTP administration, and might represent a key initiating component of the inflammatory response. Using Mcp-1/Ccl2 knockout mice backcrossed onto a C57BL/6J background we found that MPTP-stimulated Mip-1α/Ccl3 and Mip-1β/Ccl4 mRNA expression was significantly lower in the knockout mice; suggesting that Mcp-1/Ccl2 contributes to MPTP-enhanced expression of Mip-1α/Ccl3 and Mip-1β/Ccl4. However, stereological analysis of SNpc neuronal loss in Mcp-1/Ccl2 knockout and wild-type mice showed no differences. These findings suggests that it is the ability of dopaminergic SNpc neurons to survive an inflammatory insult, rather than genetically determined differences in the inflammatory response itself, that underlie the molecular basis of MPTP resistance.
cytokine/chemokine; tumor necrosis factor α; stromal derived factor 1 macrophage inflammatory protein 1; Tnf-like weak inducer of apoptosis; fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14; interleukin 6; fractalkine; fractalkine receptor; monocyte chemoattractant protein 1
Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating neurodegenerative movement disorder characterized by damage to the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. Current therapies are symptomatic only and may be accompanied by serious side effects. There is therefore a continual search for novel compounds for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease symptoms, as well as to reduce or halt disease progression. Nicotine administration has been reported to improve motor deficits that arise with nigrostriatal damage in parkinsonian animals and in Parkinson’s disease. In addition, nicotine protects against nigrostriatal damage in experimental models, findings that have led to the suggestion that the reduced incidence of Parkinson’s disease in smokers may be due to the nicotine in tobacco. Altogether, these observations suggest that nicotine treatment may be beneficial in Parkinson’s disease. Nicotine interacts with multiple nicotinic receptor (nAChR) subtypes in the peripheral and central nervous system, as well as in skeletal muscle. Work to identify the subtypes affected in Parkinson’s disease is therefore critical for the development of targeted therapies. Results show that striatal α6β2-containing nAChRs are particularly susceptible to nigrostriatal damage, with a decline in receptor levels that closely parallels losses in striatal dopamine. In contrast, α4β2-containing nAChRs are decreased to a much smaller extent under the same conditions. These observations suggest that development of nAChR agonists or antagonists targeted to α6β2-containing nAChRs may represent a particularly relevant target for Parkinson’s disease therapeutics.
α-ConotoxinMII; Nicotine; Nicotinic; Parkinson’s disease; Nigrostriatal; Striatum
During the last two decades, a wealth of animal and human studies has implicated inflammation-derived oxidative stress and cytokine-dependent neurotoxicity in the progressive degeneration of the dopaminergic (DA) nigrostriatal pathway, the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD). In this review, we discuss the various hypotheses regarding the role of microglia and other immune cells in PD pathogenesis and progression, the inflammatory mechanisms implicated in disease progression from pre-clinical and clinical studies, the recent evidence that systemic inflammation can trigger microglia activation in PD-relevant CNS regions, the synergism between gene products linked to parkinsonian phenotypes (α-synuclein, parkin, Nurr1, and RGS10) and neuroinflammation in promoting neurodegeneration of the nigrostriatal pathway, and the latest update on meta-analysis of epidemiological studies on the risk-lowering effects of anti-inflammatory drug regimens.
microglia; Parkinson’s disease; neuroinflammation; neurodegeneration; peripheral immune cell; BBB
Idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) is a devastating movement disorder characterized by selective degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway. Neurodegeneration usually starts in the fifth decade of life and progresses over 5-10 years before reaching the fully symptomatic disease state. Despite decades of intense research, the etiology of sporadic PD and the mechanism underlying the selective neuronal loss remain unknown. However, the late onset and slow-progressing nature of the disease has prompted the consideration of environmental exposure to agrochemicals, including pesticides, as a risk factor. Moreover, increasing evidence suggests that early-life occurrence of inflammation in the brain, as a consequence of either brain injury or exposure to infectious agents, may play a role in the pathogenesis of PD. Most important, there may be a self-propelling cycle of inflammatory process involving brain immune cells (microglia and astrocytes) that drives the slow yet progressive neurodegenerative process. Deciphering the molecular and cellular mechanisms governing those intricate interactions would significantly advance our understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of PD and aid the development of therapeutic strategies for the treatment of the disease.
Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) protein has been shown to protect the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway when given as intrastriatal infusions in rat and mouse models of Parkinson's disease (PD). In this study, we assessed the neuroprotective effect of CDNF delivered with a recombinant adeno-associated viral (AAV) serotype 2 vector in a rat 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) model of PD. AAV2 vectors encoding CDNF, glial cell line–derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), or green fluorescent protein were injected into the rat striatum. Protein expression analysis showed that our AAV2 vector efficiently delivered the neurotrophic factor genes into the brain and gave rise to a long-lasting expression of the proteins. Two weeks after AAV2 vector injection, 6-OHDA was injected into the rat striatum, creating a progressive degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. Treatment with AAV2-CDNF resulted in a marked decrease in amphetamine-induced ipsilateral rotations while it provided only partial protection of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunoreactive cells in the rat substantia nigra pars compacta and TH-reactive fibers in the striatum. Results from this study provide additional evidence that CDNF can be considered a potential treatment of Parkinson's disease.
6-OHDA; AAV; CDNF; GDNF; gene therapy
The motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) are due primarily to the degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons in the nigrostriatal pathway. However, several other brain areas and neurotransmitters other than dopamine such as noradrenaline, 5-hydroxytryptamine and acetylcholine are affected in the disease. Moreover, adenosine because of the extensive interaction of its receptors with the dopaminergic system has been implicated in the in the pathophysiology of the disease. Based on the involvement of these nondopaminergic neurotransmitters in PD and the sometimes severe adverse effects that limit the mainstay use of dopamine-based antiparkinsonian treatments, recent assessments have called for a broadening of therapeutic options beyond the traditional dopaminergic drug arsenal.
In this review we describe the interactions between dopamine and adenosine receptors that underpin the preclinical and clinical rationale for pursuing adenosine A2A receptor antagonists as symptomatic and potentially neuroprotective treatment of PD. The review will pay particular attention to recent results regarding specific A2A receptor-receptor interactions and recent findings identifying urate, the end product of purine metabolism, as a novel prognostic biomarker and candidate neuroprotectant in PD.
Significance: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized, in part, by the progressive and selective loss of dopaminergic neuron cell bodies within the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) and the associated deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) in the striatum, which gives rise to the typical motor symptoms of PD. The mechanisms that contribute to the induction and progressive cell death of dopaminergic neurons in PD are multi-faceted and remain incompletely understood. Data from epidemiological studies in humans and molecular studies in genetic, as well as toxin-induced animal models of parkinsonism, indicate that mitochondrial dysfunction occurs early in the pathogenesis of both familial and idiopathic PD. In this review, we provide an overview of toxin models of mitochondrial dysfunction in experimental Parkinson's disease and discuss mitochondrial mechanisms of neurotoxicity. Recent Advances: A new toxin model using the mitochondrial toxin trichloroethylene was recently described and novel methods, such as intranasal exposure to toxins, have been explored. Additionally, recent research conducted in toxin models of parkinsonism provides an emerging emphasis on extranigral aspects of PD pathology. Critical Issues: Unfortunately, none of the existing animal models of experimental PD completely mimics the etiology, progression, and pathology of human PD. Future Directions: Continued efforts to optimize established animal models of parkinsonism, as well as the development and characterization of new animal models are essential, as there still remains a disconnect in terms of translating mechanistic observations in animal models of experimental PD into bona fide disease-modifying therapeutics for human PD patients. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 16, 920–934.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by a prominent degeneration of nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) neurons with an accompanying neuroinflammation. Despite clinical and preclinical studies of neuroprotective strategies for PD, there is no effective treatment for preventing or slowing the progression of neurodegeneration. The inverse correlation between caffeine consumption and risk of PD suggests that caffeine may exert neuroprotection. Whether caffeine is neuroprotective in a chronic progressive model of PD has not been evaluated nor is it known if delayed caffeine treatment can stop DA neuronal loss. We show that a chronic unilateral intra-cerebroventricular infusion of 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium in the rat brain for 28 days produces a progressive loss of DA and tyrosine hydroxylase in the ipsilateral striatum and a loss of DA cell bodies and microglial activation in the ipsilateral substantia nigra. Chronic caffeine consumption prevented the degeneration of DA cell bodies in the substantia nigra. Importantly, neuroprotection was still apparent when caffeine was introduced after the onset of the neurodegenerative process. These results add to the clinical relevance for adenosine receptors as a disease-modifying drug target for PD.
animal model; PD; caffeine; progressive neurodegeneration; MPP+; dopamine neurons; microglia; miniosmotic pump
Parkinson’s disease (PD) results from the loss of dopamine neurons located in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) that project to the striatum. A therapeutic has yet to be identified that halts this neurodegenerative process, and as such, development of a brain penetrant small molecule neuroprotective agent would represent a significant advancement in the treatment of the disease. To fill this void we developed an aminopyrimidine JNK inhibitor (SR-3306) that reduced the loss of dopaminergic cell bodies in the SNpc and their terminals in the striatum produced by unilateral injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the nigrostriatal pathway. Administration of SR-3306 [10 mg/kg/day (s.c.) for 14 days] increased the number of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive (TH+) neurons in the SNpc by six-fold and reduced the loss of the TH+ terminals in the striatum relative to the corresponding side of 6-OHDA-lesioned rats that received only vehicle (p<0.05). In addition, SR-3306 [10 mg/kg/day (s.c.) for 14 days] decreased d-amphetamine-induced circling by 87% compared to 6-OHDA-lesioned animals given vehicle. Steady-state brain levels of SR-3306 at day 14 were 347 nM, which was approximately two-fold higher than the cell-based IC50 for this compound. Finally, immunohistochemical staining for phospho-c-jun (p-c-jun) revealed that SR-3306 [10 mg/kg/day (s.c.) for 14 days] produced a 2.3-fold reduction of the number of immunoreactive neurons in the SNpc relative to vehicle treated rats. Collectively, these data suggest that orally bioavailable JNK inhibitors may be useful neuroprotective agents for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) results from the loss of dopamine neurons located in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) that project to the striatum. A therapeutic has yet to be identified that halts this neurodegenerative process, and as such, development of a brain penetrant small molecule neuroprotective agent would represent a significant advancement in the treatment of the disease. To fill this void, we developed an aminopyrimidine JNK inhibitor (SR-3306) that reduced the loss of dopaminergic cell bodies in the SNpc and their terminals in the striatum produced by unilateral injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the nigrostriatal pathway. Administration of SR-3306 [10 mg/kg/day (s.c.) for 14 days] increased the number of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive (TH+) neurons in the SNpc by 6-fold and reduced the loss of the TH+ terminals in the striatum relative to the corresponding side of 6-OHDA-lesioned rats that received only vehicle (p < 0.05). In addition, SR-3306 [10 mg/kg/day (s.c.) for 14 days] decreased d-amphetamine-induced circling by 87% compared to 6-OHDA-lesioned animals given vehicle. Steady-state brain levels of SR-3306 at day 14 were 347 nM, which was approximately 2-fold higher than the cell-based IC50 for this compound. Finally, immunohistochemical staining for phospho-c-jun (p-c-jun) revealed that SR-3306 [10 mg/kg/day (s.c.) for 14 days] produced a 2.3-fold reduction of the number of immunoreactive neurons in the SNpc relative to vehicle treated rats. Collectively, these data suggest that orally bioavailable JNK inhibitors may be useful neuroprotective agents for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
JNK; 6-OHDA; neuroprotection; Parkinson’s disease
Dopamine is the most intensely studied monoaminergic neurotransmitter. Dopaminergic neurotransmission plays an important role in regulating several aspects of basic brain function, including motor, behavior, motivation, and working memory. To date, there are numerous positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) radiotracers available for targeting different steps in the process of dopaminergic neurotransmission, which permits us to quantify dopaminergic activity in the living human brain. Degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopamine system causes Parkinson's disease (PD) and related Parkinsonism. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that has been classically associated with the reinforcing effects of drug abuse. Abnormalities within the dopamine system in the brain are involved in the pathophysiology of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Dopamine receptors play an important role in schizophrenia and the effect of neuroleptics is through blockage of dopamine D2 receptors. This review will concentrate on the radiotracers that have been developed for imaging dopaminergic neurons, describe the clinical aspects in the assessment of neuropsychiatric disorders, and suggest future directions in the diagnosis and management of such disorders.
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized pathologically by the loss of nigrostriatal dopamine neurons that project from the substantia nigra in the midbrain to the putamen and caudate nuclei, leading to the clinical features of bradykinesia, rigidity, and rest tremor. Oxidative stress from oxidized dopamine and related compounds may contribute to the degeneration characteristic of this disease.
To investigate a possible role of the phospholipid hydroperoxidase glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) in protection from oxidative stress, we investigated GPX4 expression in postmortem human brain tissue from individuals with and without Parkinson's disease. In both control and Parkinson's samples, GPX4 was found in dopaminergic nigral neurons colocalized with neuromelanin. Overall GPX4 was significantly reduced in substantia nigra in Parkinson's vs. control subjects, but was increased relative to the cell density of surviving nigral cells. In putamen, GPX4 was concentrated within dystrophic dopaminergic axons in Parkinson's subjects, although overall levels of GPX4 were not significantly different compared to control putamen.
This study demonstrates an up-regulation of GPX4 in neurons of substantia nigra and association of this protein with dystrophic axons in striatum of Parkinson's brain, indicating a possible neuroprotective role. Additionally, our findings suggest this enzyme may contribute to the production of neuromelanin.
Microglial neuroinflammatory responses affect the onset and progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). We posit that such neuroinflammatory responses are, in part, mediated by microglial interactions with nitrated and aggregated α-synuclein (α-syn) released from Lewy bodies as a consequence of dopaminergic neuronal degeneration. As disease progresses, secretions from α-syn activated microglia can engage neighboring glial cells in a cycle of autocrine and paracrine amplification of neurotoxic immune products. Such pathogenic processes affect the balance between a microglial neurotrophic and neurotoxic signature. We now report that microglia secrete both neurotoxic and neuroprotective factors following exposure to nitrated α-syn (N-α-syn). Proteomic [surface enhanced laser desorption-time of flight (SELDI-TOF), 1D SDS electrophoresis, and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry] and limited metabolomic profiling demonstrated that N-α-syn activated microglia secrete inflammatory, regulatory, redox-active, enzymes, and cytoskeletal proteins. Increased extracellular glutamate and cysteine, dimininshed intracellular glutathione and secreted exosomal proteins were also demonstrated. Increased redox active proteins suggest regulatory microglial responses to N-α-syn. These were linked to discontinuous cystatin expression, cathepsin activity, and NF-κB activation. Inhibition of cathepsin B attenuated, in part, N-α-syn-microglial neurotoxicity. These data support multifaceted microglia functions in PD-associated neurodegeneration.
alpha synuclein; microglia; Parkinson’s disease; proteomics; glutamate; neuroinflammation
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by the loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the nigrostriatal system. Numerous researchers in the past have attempted to track the progression of dopaminergic depletion in PD. We applied a quantitative non-invasive PET imaging technique to follow this degeneration process in an MPTP-induced mouse model of PD. The VMAT2 ligand 18F-DTBZ (AV-133) was used as a radioactive tracer in our imaging experiments to monitor the changes of the dopaminergic system. Intraperitoneal administrations of MPTP (a neurotoxin) were delivered to mice at regular intervals to induce lesions consistent with PD. Our results indicate a significant decline in the levels of striatal dopamine and its metabolites (DOPAC and HVA) following MPTP treatment as determined by HPLC method. Images obtained by positron emission tomography revealed uptake of 18F-DTBZ analog in the mouse striatum. However, reduction in radioligand binding was evident in the striatum of MPTP lesioned animals as compared with the control group. Immunohistochemical analysis further confirmed PET imaging results and indicated the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in treated animals compared with the control counterparts. In conclusion, our findings suggest that MPTP induced PD in mouse model is appropriate to follow the degeneration of dopaminergic system and that 18F-DTBZ analog is a potentially sensitive radiotracer that can used to diagnose changes associated with PD by PET imaging modality.
Parkinson's disease is the most common movement disorder characterized by dopaminergic dysfunction and degeneration. Loss-of-function mutations in the DJ-1 gene have been linked to autosomal recessive forms of early-onset familial Parkinson's disease. DJ-1 is thought to play roles in protection of cells against oxidative stress and in maintenance of the normal dopaminergic function in the nigrostriatal pathway. Here we investigate the consequence of both DJ-1 inactivation and aging in mice. We found that DJ-1-/- mice at the age of 24–27 months have normal numbers of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and normal levels of dopamine and its major metabolites in the striatum. The number of noradrenergic neurons in the locus coeruleus is also unchanged in DJ-1-/- mice. Moreover, there is no accumulation of oxidative damage or inclusion bodies in aged DJ-1-/- brains. Together, these results indicate that loss of DJ-1 function alone is insufficient to cause nigral degeneration and oxidative damage in the life span of mice.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder marked by nigrostriatal dopaminergic degeneration. Evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction may be linked to PD through a variety of different pathways, including free-radical generation and dysfunction of the mitochondrial Complex I activity. In Lewis rats, chronic systemic administration of a specific mitochondrial Complex I inhibitor, rotenone (3 mg/kg/day) produced parkinsonism-like symptoms. Increased oxidized proteins and peroxynitrite, and mitochondrial or cytosol translocation of Bim, Bax or cytochrome c in the striatum was observed after 2–4 weeks of rotenone infusion. After 28 days of systemic rotenone exposure, imunohistochemical staining for tyrosine hydroxylase indicated nigrostriatal dopaminergic neuronal cell degeneration. Characteristic histochemical (TUNEL or activated caspase-3 staining) or ultrastructural (electron microscopy) features of apoptotic cell death were present in the striatal neuronal cell after chronic rotenone intoxication. We conclude that chronic rotenone intoxication may enhance oxidative and nitrosative stress that induces mitochondrial dysfunction and ultrastructural damage, resulting in translocation of Bim and Bax from cytosol to mitochondria that contributes to apoptotic cell death in the striatum via cytochrome c/caspase-3 signaling cascade.
rotenone; Parkinson’s disease; mitochondria; complex I; apoptotic cell death; striatum
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons and the accumulation of alpha-synuclein. Both traumatic brain injury (TBI) and pesticides are risk factors for PD, but whether TBI causes nigrostriatal dopaminergic cell loss in experimental models and whether it acts synergistically with pesticides is unknown. We have examined the acute and long-term effects of TBI and exposure to low doses of the pesticide paraquat, separately and in combination, on nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in adult male rats. In an acute study, rats received moderate TBI by lateral fluid percussion (LFP) injury, were injected with saline or paraquat (10 mg/kg IP) 3 and 6 days after LFP, were sacrificed 5 days later, and their brains processed for immunohistochemistry. TBI alone increased microglial activation in the substantia nigra, and caused a 15% loss of dopaminergic neurons ipsilaterally. Paraquat increased the TBI effect, causing a 30% bilateral loss of dopaminergic neurons, reduced striatal tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactivity more than TBI alone, and induced alpha-synuclein accumulation in the substantia nigra pars compacta. In a long-term study, rats received moderate LFP, were injected with saline or paraquat at 21 and 22 weeks post-injury, and were sacrificed 4 weeks later. At 26 weeks post injury, TBI alone induced a 30% bilateral loss of dopaminergic neurons that was not exacerbated by paraquat. These data suggest that TBI is sufficient to induce a progressive degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. Furthermore, TBI and pesticide exposure, when occurring within a defined time frame, could combine to increase the PD risk.
alpha-synuclein; lateral fluid percussion; microglia; paraquat; Parkinson's disease; traumatic brain injury