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J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2012 Mar;7(1):279-88. doi: 10.1007/s11481-011-9269-4. Epub 2011 Mar 24.

Murine motor and behavior functional evaluations for acute 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) intoxication.

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Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA.


Acute intoxication with 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) induces nigrostriatal neurodegeneration that reflects Parkinson's disease (PD) pathobiology. The model is commonly used for rodent studies of PD pathogenesis and diagnostics and for developmental therapeutics. However, tests of motor function in MPTP-intoxicated mice have yielded mixed results. This unmet need reflects, in part, lesion severity, animal variability, and the overall test sensitivity and specificity. In attempts to standardize rodent motor function and behavioral tests, mice were trained on the rotarod or habituated in an open field test chamber, and baseline performance measurements were collected prior to MPTP intoxication. One week following MPTP intoxication, motor function and behavior were assessed and baseline measurements applied to post-MPTP measurements with normalization to PBS controls. Rotarod and open field tests assessed in this manner demonstrated significant differences between MPTP- and saline-treated mice, while tests of neuromuscular strength and endurance did not. We conclude that the rotarod and open field tests provide reliable measures of motor function for MPTP-intoxicated mice.

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