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Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2010 Sep 30;48(3):434-41. doi: 10.2478/v10042-010-0047-6.

The effects of docosahexaenoic acid on glial derived neurotrophic factor and neurturin in bilateral rat model of Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Histology and Embryology, Akdeniz University School of Medicine, Antalya, Turkey.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder marked by cell death in the Substantia nigra (SN). Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in the phospholipid fraction of the brain and is required for normal cellular function. Glial cell line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and neurturin (NTN) are very potent trophic factors for PD. The aim of the study was to evaluate the neuroprotective effects of GDNF and NTN by investigating their immunostaining levels after administration of DHA in a model of PD. For this reason we hypothesized that DHA administration of PD might alter GDNF, NTN expression in SN. MPTP neurotoxin that induces dopaminergic neurodegeneration was used to create the experimental Parkinsonism model. Rats were divided into; control, DHA-treated (DHA), MPTP-induced (MPTP), MPTP-induced+DHA-treated (MPTP+DHA) groups. Dopaminergic neuron numbers were clearly decreased in MPTP, but showed an increase in MPTP+DHA group. As a result of this, DHA administration protected dopaminergic neurons as shown by tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemistry. In the MPTP+DHA group, GDNF, NTN immunoreactions in dopaminergic neurons were higher than that of the MPTP group. In conclusion, the characterization of GDNF and NTN will certainly help elucidate the mechanism of DHA action, and lead to better strategies for the use of DHA to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

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