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The Journal of Neuroscience  2012;32(5):1545-1559.
The A/VN/1203/04 H5N1 influenza virus is capable of infecting the CNS of mice and inducing a number of neurodegenerative pathologies. Here, we examined the effects of H5N1 on several pathological aspects affected in parkinsonism, including loss of the phenotype of dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons located in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), expression of mono- and indolamines in brain, alterations in SNpc microglia number and morphology, and expression of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors. We find that H5N1 induces a transient loss of the DAergic phenotype in SNpc and now report that this loss recovers by 90 days post infection (dpi). A similar pattern of loss and recovery was seen in monoamine levels of the basal ganglia. The inflammatory response in lung and different regions of the brain known to be targets of the H5N1 virus (brainstem, substantia nigra, striatum, and cortex) were examined at 3, 10, 21, 60 and 90 dpi. We found a significant increase in the number of activated microglia in each of these brain regions that lasted at least 90 days. We also quantified expression of IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-9, IL-10, IL-12(p70), IL-13, TNF-α, IFN-γ, GM-CSF, G-CSF, M-CSF, eotaxin, IP-10, KC, MCP-1, MIP-1α, MIP-1β and VEGF and find that the pattern and levels of expression are dependent on both brain region and time after infection. We conclude that H5N1 infection in mice induces a long-lasting inflammatory response in brain and may play a contributing factor in the development of pathologies in neurodegenerative disorders.
PMCID: PMC3307392  PMID: 22302798
2.  Viral Parkinsonism 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2008;1792(7):714-721.
Parkinson's disease is a debilitating neurological disorder characterized that affects 1-2% of the adult population over 55 years of age. For the vast majority of cases, the etiology of this disorder is unknown, although it is generally accepted that there is a genetic susceptibility to any number of environmental agents. One such agent may be viruses. It has been shown that numerous viruses can enter the nervous system, i.e. they are neurotropic, and induce a number of encephalopathies. One of the secondary consequences of these encephalopathies can be parkinsonism, that is both transient as well as permanent. One of the most highlighted and controversial cases of viral parkinsonism is that which followed the 1918 influenza outbreak and the subsequent induction of von Economo's encephalopathy. In this review, we discuss the neurological sequelae of infection by influenza virus as well as that of other viruses known to induce parkinsonism including Coxsackie, Japanese encephalitis B, St. Louis, West Nile and HIV viruses.
PMCID: PMC4642437  PMID: 18760350
3.  Glutathione Metabolism and Parkinson’s Disease 
It has been established that oxidative stress, defined as the condition when the sum of free radicals in a cell exceeds the antioxidant capacity of the cell, contributes to the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. Glutathione is a ubiquitous thiol tripeptide that acts alone, or in concert with enzymes within cells to reduce superoxide radicals, hydroxyl radicals and peroxynitrites. In this review, we examine the synthesis, metabolism and functional interactions of glutathione, and discuss how this relates to protection of dopaminergic neurons from oxidative damage and its therapeutic potential in Parkinson’s disease.
PMCID: PMC3736736  PMID: 23665395
Glutathione; Glutathione S-transferase; Parkinson’s disease; Oxidative Stress; Substantia nigra
4.  Alterations in Glutathione S-transferase pi expression following exposure to MPP+-induced oxidative stress in blood of Parkinson’s disease patients 
Parkinsonism & related disorders  2011;17(10):765-768.
The major motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease do not occur until a majority of the dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain SNpc have already died. For this reason, it is critical to identify biomarkers that will allow for the identification of presymptomatic individuals. In this study, we examine the baseline expression of the antioxidant protein Glutathione S-transferase pi (GSTpi) in blood of PD and environmental and age-matched controls and compare it to GSTpi levels following exposure to 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), an agent that has been shown to induce oxidative stress. We find that 4 hours of exposure to MPP+, significant increases in GSTpi levels can be observed in the leukocytes of PD patients. No changes were seen in other blood components. This suggests that GSTpi and potentially other members of this and other anti-oxidant families may be viable biomarkers for PD.
PMCID: PMC3307132  PMID: 21840241

Results 1-4 (4)