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Curr Pharm Des. 2004;10(6):679-86.

Minocycline: neuroprotective mechanisms in Parkinson's disease.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cardinal features of tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity and postural instability. In addition to the motor symptoms patients experience cognitive decline eventually resulting in severe disability. Pathologically PD is characterized by neurodegeneration in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) with intracytoplasmic inclusions known as Lewy bodies. In addition to the SNc there is neurodegeneration in other areas including cerebral cortex, raphe nuclei, locus ceruleus, nucleus basalis of meynert, cranial nerves and autonomic nervous system. Recent evidence supports the role of inflammation in Parkinson's disease. Apoptosis has been shown to be one of the pathways of cell death in PD. Minocycline, a tetracycline derivative is a caspase inhibitor, and also inhibits the inducible nitric oxide synthase which are important for apoptotic cell death. Furthermore, Minocycline has been shown to block microglial activation of 6-hydroxydopamine and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-lesioned parkinsonism animal models and protect against nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurodegeneration. In this review, we present the current experimental evidence for the potential use of tetracycline derivative, minocycline, as a neuroprotective agent in PD.

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