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Nat Neurosci. 2004 Jul;7(7):726-35. Epub 2004 Jun 13.

Dopamine depletion impairs precursor cell proliferation in Parkinson disease.

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INSERM U289 Hôpital de la Salpetrière, F-75651 Paris, France.


Cerebral dopamine depletion is the hallmark of Parkinson disease. Because dopamine modulates ontogenetic neurogenesis, depletion of dopamine might affect neural precursors in the subependymal zone and subgranular zone of the adult brain. Here we provide ultrastructural evidence showing that highly proliferative precursors in the adult subependymal zone express dopamine receptors and receive dopaminergic afferents. Experimental depletion of dopamine in rodents decreases precursor cell proliferation in both the subependymal zone and the subgranular zone. Proliferation is restored completely by a selective agonist of D2-like (D2L) receptors. Experiments with neural precursors from the adult subependymal zone grown as neurosphere cultures confirm that activation of D2L receptors directly increases the proliferation of these precursors. Consistently, the numbers of proliferating cells in the subependymal zone and neural precursor cells in the subgranular zone and olfactory bulb are reduced in postmortem brains of individuals with Parkinson disease. These observations suggest that the generation of neural precursor cells is impaired in Parkinson disease as a consequence of dopaminergic denervation.

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