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Neurosci Lett. 2003 May 1;341(2):87-90.

Selective microglial activation in the rat rotenone model of Parkinson's disease.

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Center for Neurodegenerative Disease, Emory University, 30322, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Chronic rotenone exposure reproduces features of Parkinson's disease (PD) (Nat. Neurosci. 3 (2000) 1301; Exp. Neurol. 179 (2003) 9). We investigated the role of glial activation in rotenone toxicity in vivo. Male Lewis rats received 2-3 mg/kg rotenone per day for up to 4 weeks. In 50% of surviving rotenone-treated animals, there was nigrostriatal dopaminergic degeneration, marked by reduced tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity). Extensive microglial activation, determined by OX-42-ir, occurred in striatum and nigra of rotenone-treated animals, and was prominent before anatomical evidence of dopaminergic lesions. Microglia enlarged and developed short, stubby processes in rotenone-treated animals. Rotenone-induced microglial activation was less pronounced in cortex. Reactive astrocytosis was minimal and limited to a thin rim around the lesion. Marked microglial activation with minimal astrocytosis is another pathological feature of PD reproduced by rotenone treatment.

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