Incomplete nigrostriatal dopaminergic cell loss and partial reductions in striatal dopamine produce akinesia, rigidity, tremor and cognitive deficits in middle-aged rats

Mark D. Lindner, Chris K. Cain, Melissa A. Plone, Beata R. Frydel, Thomas J. Blaney, Dwaine F. Emerich, Michael R. Hoane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study was conducted to determine if the full array of parkinsonian symptoms could be detected in rats with nigrostriatal cell loss and striatal dopamine depletions similar to levels reported in the clinical setting, and to determine if older rats exhibit more robust parkinsonian deficits than younger rats. Young (2 months old) and middle-aged (12 months old) rats received bilateral striatal infusions of 6-OHDA, over the next 3 months they were assessed with a battery of behavioral tests, and then dopaminergic nigrostriatal cells and striatal dopamine and DOPAC levels were quantified. The results of the present study suggest that: (1) the full array of parkinsonian symptoms (i.e. akinesia, rigidity, tremor and visuospatial cognitive deficits) can be quantified in rats with incomplete nigrostriatal dopaminergic cell loss and partial reductions in striatal dopamine levels (2) parkinsonian symptoms were more evident in middle-aged rats with 6-OHDA infusions, and (3) there was evidence of substantial neuroplasticity in the older rats, but regardless of the age of the animal, endogenous compensatory mechanisms were unable to maintain striatal dopamine levels after rapid, lesion-induced nigrostriatal cell loss. These results suggest that using older rats with nigrostriatal dopaminergic cell loss and reductions in striatal dopamine levels similar to those in the clinical condition, and measuring behavioral deficits analogous to parkinsonian symptoms, might increase the predictive validity of pre-clinical rodent models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume102
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • 6-OHDA
  • Age
  • Nigrostriatal cell counts
  • Parkinsonian symptoms
  • Partial lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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