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Neurobiol Dis. 2006 Sep;23(3):533-42.

Selective injury to dopaminergic neurons up-regulates GDNF in substantia nigra postnatal cell cultures: role of neuron-glia crosstalk.

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  • 1Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, Portugal.


The effect of selective injury to dopaminergic neurons on the expression of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) was examined in substantia nigra cell cultures. H(2)O(2), mimicking increased oxidative stress, or l-DOPA, the main symptomatic treatment for Parkinson's disease, increased GDNF mRNA and protein levels in a time-dependent mode in neuron-glia mixed cultures. The concentration dependence indicated that mild, but not extensive, injury induced GDNF up-regulation. GDNF neutralization with an antibody decreased dopaminergic cell viability in H(2)O(2)-treated cultures, showing that up-regulation of GDNF was protecting dopaminergic neurons. Neither H(2)O(2) nor l-DOPA directly affected GDNF expression in astrocyte cultures, but conditioned media from challenged mixed cultures increased GDNF mRNA and protein levels in astrocyte cultures, indicating that GDNF up-regulation was mediated by neuronal factors. Since pretreatment with 6-OHDA completely abolished H(2)O(2)-induced GDNF up-regulation, we propose that GDNF up-regulation is triggered by failing dopaminergic neurons that signal astrocytes to increase GDNF expression.

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