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Anat Embryol (Berl). 2006 Nov;211(6):659-71. Epub 2006 Sep 28.

Fos immunoreactivity in some locomotor neural centres of 6OHDA-lesioned rats.

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Department Anatomy and Histology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.


In this study, we explore Fos expression (a measure of cell activity) in three nuclei associated with locomotion, namely the zona incerta, pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus and cuneiform nucleus (the latter two form the mesencephalic locomotor region) in hemiparkinsonian rats. Sprague-Dawley rats had small volumes of either saline (control) or 6 hydroxydopamine (6OHDA) injected into the medial forebrain bundle, the major tract carrying dopaminergic nigrostriatal axons. After various post-lesion survival periods, ranging from 2 h to 28 days, rats were perfused with formaldehyde and their brains processed for routine tyrosine hydroxylase and Fos immunocytochemistry. Our results showed a significant increase (P < 0.05) in the number of strongly labelled Fos+ cells in the cuneiform nucleus in the 6OHDA-lesioned cases compared to the controls after 7 and 28 days survival periods. By contrast, there were no significant differences (P > 0.05) in the number of strong-labelled Fos+ cells in the zona incerta and pedunculopontine nucleus of 6OHDA-lesioned rats compared to controls at any survival period. Many of the Fos+ cells within the pedunculopontine and cuneiform nuclei were glutamatergic (35-60%), while none or very few were nitric oxide synthase+. In conclusion, we reveal an increase in the number of strongly labelled Fos+ cells within the cuneiform nucleus of the so-called defensive locomotive system in 6OHDA-lesioned rats. In relation to Parkinson disease, we suggest that this increase is associated with the akinesia or lack of movement seen in patients.

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