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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE - Clinically, Parkinson's disease (PD) presents with asymmetric motor symptoms. The left nigrostriatal system appears more susceptible to early degeneration than the right, and a left-lateralized pattern of early neuropathological changes is also described in several neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia, and Huntington's disease. In this study, we evaluated hemispheric differences in estimated rates of atrophy in a large, well-characterized cohort of PD patients.
METHODS - Our cohort included 205 PD patients who underwent clinical assessments and T1-weighted brain MRI's. Patients were classified into Early (= 109) and Late stage (= 96) based on disease duration, defined as greater than or less than 10 years of motor symptoms. Cortical thickness was determined using FreeSurfer, and a bootstrapped linear regression model was used to estimate differences in rates of atrophy between Early and Late patients.
RESULTS - Our results show that patients classified as Early stage exhibit a greater estimated rate of cortical atrophy in left frontal regions, especially the left insula and olfactory sulcus. This pattern was replicated in left-handed patients, and was not influenced by the degree of motor symptom asymmetry (i.e., left-sided predominant motor symptoms). Patients classified as Late stage exhibited greater atrophy in the bilateral occipital, and right hemisphere-predominant cortical areas.
CONCLUSIONS - We show that cortical degeneration in PD differs between cerebral hemispheres, and findings suggest a pattern of early left, and late right hemisphere with posterior cortical atrophy. Further investigation is warranted to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of this asymmetry and pathologic implications.
PURPOSE - To investigate the physical mechanisms associated with the contrast observed in neuromelanin MRI.
METHODS - Phantoms having different concentrations of synthetic melanins with different degrees of iron loading were examined on a 3 Tesla scanner using relaxometry and quantitative magnetization transfer (MT).
RESULTS - Concentration-dependent T and T shortening was most pronounced for the melanin pigment when combined with iron. Metal-free melanin had a negligible effect on the magnetization transfer spectra. On the contrary, the presence of iron-laden melanins resulted in a decreased magnetization transfer ratio. The presence of melanin or iron (or both) did not have a significant effect on the macromolecular content, represented by the pool size ratio.
CONCLUSION - The primary mechanism underlying contrast in neuromelanin-MRI appears to be the T reduction associated with melanin-iron complexes. The macromolecular content is not significantly influenced by the presence of melanin with or without iron, and thus the MT is not directly affected. However, as T plays a role in determining the MT-weighted signal, the magnetization transfer ratio is reduced in the presence of melanin-iron complexes. Magn Reson Med 78:1790-1800, 2017. © 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
© 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
Erythropoietin (Epo) is neuroprotective in a number of preparations, but can lead to unacceptably high and even lethal hematocrit levels. Recent reports show that modified Epo variants confer neuroprotection in models of glaucoma and retinal degeneration without raising hematocrit. In this study, neuroprotective effects of two Epo variants (EpoR76E and EpoS71E) were assessed in a model of Parkinson's disease. The constructs were packaged in recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors and injected intramuscularly. After 3 weeks, mice received five daily injections of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) and were killed 5 weeks later. The MPTP-lesioned mice pretreated with rAAV.eGFP (negative control) exhibited a 7- to 9-Hz tremor and slower latencies to move on a grid test (akinesia). Both of these symptomatic features were absent in mice pretreated with either modified Epo construct. The rAAV.eGFP-treated mice lesioned with MPTP exhibited a 41% reduction in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons in the substantia nigra. The rAAV.EpoS71E construct did not protect nigral neurons, but neuronal loss in mice pretreated with rAAV.EpoR76E was only half that of rAAV.eGFP controls. Although dopamine levels were normal in all groups, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) was significantly reduced only in MPTP-lesioned mice pretreated with rAAV.eGFP, indicating reduced dopamine turnover. Analysis of TH-positive fibers in the striatum showed normalized density in MPTP-lesioned mice pretreated with rAAV.EpoS71E, suggesting that enhanced sprouting induced by EpoS71E may have been responsible for normal behavior and dopaminergic tone in these mice. These results show that systemically administered rAAV-generated non-erythropoietic Epo may protect against MPTP-induced parkinsonism by a combination of neuroprotection and enhanced axonal sprouting.
© 2012 The Authors. Genes, Brain and Behavior © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.
Recent clinical evidence supports a link between 25-hydroxyvitamin D insufficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels <30 ng/mL) and Parkinson's disease. To investigate the effect of 25(OH)D depletion on neuronal susceptibility to toxic insult, we induced a state of 25(OH)D deficiency in mice and then challenged them with the dopaminergic neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). We found there was no significant difference between control and 25(OH)D-deficient animals in striatal dopamine levels or dopamine transporter and tyrosine hydroxylase expression after lesioning with MPTP. Additionally, we found no difference in tyrosine hydroxylase expression in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Our data suggest that reducing 25(OH)D serum levels in mice has no effect on the vulnerability of nigral dopaminergic neurons in vivo in this model system of parkinsonism.
Neuronal loss in Parkinson's disease (PD) is seen in a number of brain regions in addition to the substantia nigra (SN). Among these is the thalamic parafascicular nucleus (PF), which sends glutamatergic projections to the striatum and receives GABAergic inputs from the SN. Recent data suggest that lesions of nigrostriatal dopamine axons cause a loss of PF neurons, which has been interpreted to suggest that the PF cell loss seen in PD is secondary to dopamine denervation. However, the extent of a PF dopamine innervation in the rat is unclear, and it is possible that PF cell loss in parkinsonism is independent of nigrostriatal dopamine degeneration. We characterized the dopamine innervation of the PF in the rat and determined if 6-hydroxydopamine SN lesions cause PF neuron degeneration. Dual-label immunohistochemistry revealed that almost all tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir) axons in the PF also expressed dopamine-beta-hydroxylase and were therefore noradrenergic or adrenergic. Moreover, an antibody directed against dopamine revealed only very rare PF dopaminergic axons. Retrograde-tract tracing-immunohistochemistry did not uncover an innervation of the PF from midbrain dopamine neurons. Nigrostriatal dopamine neuron lesions did not elicit degeneration of PF cells, as reflected by a lack of FluoroJade C staining. Similarly, neither unilateral 6-OHDA lesions of nigrostriatal axons nor the dorsal noradrenergic bundle decreased the number of PF neurons or the number of PF neurons retrogradely-labeled from the striatum. These data suggest that the loss of thalamostriatal PF neurons in Parkinson's Disease is a primary event rather than secondary to nigrostriatal dopamine degeneration.
Copyright Â© 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Antagonists of the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) were among the first treatments for Parkinson's disease. However, the clinical utility of mAChR antagonists is limited by adverse effects associated with the blockade of multiple mAChR subtypes. Understanding the roles of specific mAChR subtypes in regulating basal ganglia and motor function could lead to the development of novel agents that have antiparkinsonian activity with fewer adverse effects. Using the novel, highly selective M1 antagonist N-[3-oxo-3-[4-(4-pyridinyl)-1-piperazinyl]propyl]-2,1,3-benzothiadiazole-4-sulfonamide (VU0255035) and the M1 positive allosteric modulator benzylquinolone carboxylic acid, we investigated the roles of M1 receptors in cholinergic excitation and regulation of synaptic transmission in striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) and neurons in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr). Electrophysiological studies demonstrate that M1 activation has excitatory effects on MSNs but plays little or no role in mAChR-mediated increases in firing frequency or the regulation of synaptic transmission in STN and SNr neurons. On the basis of this profile, M1-selective antagonists may have weak antiparkinsonian activity but would not have the full efficacy observed in nonselective mAChR antagonists. Consistent with this, the M1-selective antagonist VU0255035 partially reversed reserpine-induced akinesia and decreased haloperidol-induced catalepsy in rats but did not have the full efficacy observed with the nonselective mAChR antagonist scopolamine. These results suggest that the M1 receptor participates in the overall regulation of basal ganglia function and antiparkinsonian effects of mAChR antagonists but that other mAChR subtype(s) also play important roles at multiple levels of the basal ganglia motor circuit.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder associated with severe motor impairments caused by the loss of dopaminergic innervation of the striatum. Previous studies have demonstrated that positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 (mGlu₄), including N-phenyl-7-(hydroxyimino) cyclopropa[b]chromen-1a-carboxamide, can produce antiparkinsonian-like effects in preclinical models of PD. However, these early mGlu₄ PAMsexhibited unsuitable physiochemical properties for systemic dosing, requiring intracerebroventricular administration and limiting their broader utility as in vivo tools to further understand the role of mGlu₄ in the modulation of basal ganglia function relevant to PD. In the present study, we describe the pharmacologic characterization of a systemically active mGlu₄ PAM, N-(3-chlorophenyl)picolinamide (VU0364770), in several rodent PD models. VU0364770 showed efficacy alone or when administered in combination with L-DOPA or an adenosine 2A (A2A) receptor antagonist currently in clinical development (preladenant). When administered alone, VU0364770 exhibited efficacy in reversing haloperidol-induced catalepsy, forelimb asymmetry-induced by unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesions of the median forebrain bundle, and attentional deficits induced by bilateral 6-OHDA nigrostriatal lesions in rats. In addition, VU0364770 enhanced the efficacy of preladenant to reverse haloperidol-induced catalepsy when given in combination. The effects of VU0364770 to reverse forelimb asymmetry were also potentiated when the compound was coadministered with an inactive dose of L-DOPA, suggesting that mGlu₄ PAMs may provide L-DOPA-sparing activity. The present findings provide exciting support for the potential role of selective mGlu₄ PAMs as a novel approach for the symptomatic treatment of PD and a possible augmentation strategy with either L-DOPA or A2A antagonists.
BACKGROUND - The prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically worldwide. The obesity epidemic begs for novel concepts and therapeutic targets that cohesively address "food-abuse" disorders. We demonstrate a molecular link between impairment of a central kinase (Akt) involved in insulin signaling induced by exposure to a high-fat (HF) diet and dysregulation of higher order circuitry involved in feeding. Dopamine (DA) rich brain structures, such as striatum, provide motivation stimuli for feeding. In these central circuitries, DA dysfunction is posited to contribute to obesity pathogenesis. We identified a mechanistic link between metabolic dysregulation and the maladaptive behaviors that potentiate weight gain. Insulin, a hormone in the periphery, also acts centrally to regulate both homeostatic and reward-based HF feeding. It regulates DA homeostasis, in part, by controlling a key element in DA clearance, the DA transporter (DAT). Upon HF feeding, nigro-striatal neurons rapidly develop insulin signaling deficiencies, causing increased HF calorie intake.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS - We show that consumption of fat-rich food impairs striatal activation of the insulin-activated signaling kinase, Akt. HF-induced Akt impairment, in turn, reduces DAT cell surface expression and function, thereby decreasing DA homeostasis and amphetamine (AMPH)-induced DA efflux. In addition, HF-mediated dysregulation of Akt signaling impairs DA-related behaviors such as (AMPH)-induced locomotion and increased caloric intake. We restored nigro-striatal Akt phosphorylation using recombinant viral vector expression technology. We observed a rescue of DAT expression in HF fed rats, which was associated with a return of locomotor responses to AMPH and normalization of HF diet-induced hyperphagia.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE - Acquired disruption of brain insulin action may confer risk for and/or underlie "food-abuse" disorders and the recalcitrance of obesity. This molecular model, thus, explains how even short-term exposure to "the fast food lifestyle" creates a cycle of disordered eating that cements pathological changes in DA signaling leading to weight gain and obesity.
Activation of group II metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlu2 and mGlu3) has been implicated as a potential therapeutic strategy for treating both motor symptoms and progressive neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Modulation of excitatory transmission in the basal ganglia represents a possible mechanism by which group II mGlu agonists could exert antiparkinsonian effects. Previous studies have identified reversible effects of mGlu2/3 activation on excitatory transmission at various synapses in the basal ganglia, including the excitatory synapse between the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr). Using whole-cell patch clamp studies of GABAergic SNr neurons in rat midbrain slices, we have found that a prolonged activation of group II mGlus by the selective agonist LY379268 induces a long-term depression (LTD) of evoked excitatory postsynaptic current (EPSC) amplitude. Bath application of LY379268 (100nM, 10min) induced a marked reduction in EPSC amplitude, and excitatory transmission remained depressed for at least 40min after agonist washout. The effect of LY379268 was concentration-dependent and was completely blocked by the group II mGlu-preferring antagonist LY341495 (500nM). To determine the relative contributions of mGlu2 and mGlu3 to the LTD induced by LY379268, we tested the ability of LY379268 (100nM) to induce LTD in wild type mice and mice lacking mGlu2 or mGlu3. LY379268 induced similar LTD in wild type mice and mGlu3 knockout mice, whereas LTD was absent in mGlu2 knockout mice, indicating that mGlu2 activation is necessary for the induction of LTD in the SNr. These studies suggest a novel role for mGlu2 in the long-term regulation of excitatory transmission in the SNr and invite further exploration of mGlu2 as a therapeutic target for treating the motor symptoms of PD.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.