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J Neurosci. 2000 Dec 15;20(24):9126-34.

Protection by synergistic effects of adenovirus-mediated X-chromosome-linked inhibitor of apoptosis and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor gene transfer in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine model of Parkinson's disease.

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Neurodegeneration, Neuroregeneration, and Neurooncology Laboratories, Department of Neurology, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) produces clinical, biochemical, and neuropathological changes reminiscent of those occurring in idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD). Here we show that a peptide caspase inhibitor, N-benzyloxy-carbonyl-val-ala-asp-fluoromethyl ketone, or adenoviral gene transfer (AdV) of a protein caspase inhibitor, X-chromosome-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP), prevent cell death of dopaminergic substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) neurons induced by MPTP or its active metabolite 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium in vitro and in vivo. Because the MPTP-induced decrease in striatal concentrations of dopamine and its metabolites does not differ between AdV-XIAP- and control vector-treated mice, this protection is not associated with a preservation of nigrostriatal terminals. In contrast, the combination of adenoviral gene transfer of XIAP and of the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor to the striatum provides synergistic effects, rescuing dopaminergic SNpc neurons from cell death and maintaining their nigrostriatal terminals. These data suggest that a combination of a caspase inhibitor, which blocks death, and a neurotrophic factor, which promotes the specific function of the rescued neurons, may be a promising strategy for the treatment of PD.

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