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1.  Trophic factors therapy in Parkinson’s disease 
Progress in brain research  2009;175:201-216.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder for which there is currently no effective neuroprotective therapy. Patients are typically treated with a combination of drug therapies and/or receive deep brain stimulation to combat behavioral symptoms. The ideal candidate therapy would be the one which prevents neurodegeneration in the brain, thereby halting the progression of debilitating disease symptoms. Neurotrophic factors have been in the forefront of PD research, and clinical trials have been initiated using members of the GDNF family of ligands (GFLs). GFLs have been shown to be trophic to ventral mesencephalic cells, thereby making them good candidates for PD research. This paper examines the use of GDNF and neurturin, two members of the GFL, in both animal models of PD and clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3430519  PMID: 19660658
neurotrophic factors; Parkinson’s disease; glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor family ligands; GDNF; neurturin; gene therapy; clinical trials
2.  Impact of Dendritic Spine Preservation in Medium Spiny Neurons on Dopamine Graft Efficacy and the Expression of Dyskinesias in Parkinsonian Rats 
Dopamine deficiency associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) results in numerous changes in striatal transmitter function and neuron morphology. Specifically, there is marked atrophy of dendrites and dendritic spines on striatal medium spiny neurons (MSN), primary targets of inputs from nigral dopamine and cortical glutamate neurons, in advanced PD and rodent models of severe dopamine depletion. Dendritic spine loss occurs via dysregulation of intraspine Cav1.3 L-type Ca2+ channels and can be prevented, in animal models, by administration of the calcium channel antagonist, nimodipine. The impact of MSN dendritic spine loss in the parkinsonian striatum on dopamine neuron graft therapy remains unexamined. Using unilaterally parkinsonian Sprague Dawley rats, we tested the hypothesis that MSN dendritic spine preservation through administration of nimodipine would result in improved therapeutic benefit and diminished graft-induced behavioral abnormalities in rats grafted with embryonic ventral midbrain cells. Analysis of rotational asymmetry and spontaneous forelimb use in the cylinder task found no significant effect of dendritic spine preservation in grafted rats. However, analyses of vibrissae-induced forelimb use, levodopa-induced dyskinesias, and graft-induced dyskinesias showed significant improvement in rats with dopamine grafts associated with preserved striatal dendritic spine density. Nimodipine treatment in this model did not impact dopamine graft survival but allowed for increased graft reinnervation of striatum. Taken together, these results demonstrate that even with grafting suboptimal numbers of cells, maintaining normal spine density on target MSNs results in overall superior behavioral efficacy of dopamine grafts.
PMCID: PMC2940228  PMID: 20105237
dyskinesia; Parkinson’s disease; nimodipine; transplantation; medium spiny neuron

Results 1-2 (2)