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Neuropharmacology. 2012 Dec;63(7):1258-67. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.07.031. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

7-Nitroindazole down-regulates dopamine/DARPP-32 signaling in neostriatal neurons in a rat model of Parkinson's disease.

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Clinical & Experimental Neuroscience and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas, Department of Human Anatomy and Psychobiology, School of Medicine, Regional Campus of International Excellence Campus Mare Nostrum, University of Murcia, E-30100 Murcia, Spain.


Neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) is involved in the regulation of diverse intracellular messenger systems in the brain. Nitric Oxide (NO) contributes to inducing signaling cascades that involve a complex pattern of phosphorylation of DARPP-32 (in Thr-34), which controls the phosphoproteins involved in neuronal activation. However, the role of NO in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD) and its effect in striatal neurons have been scarcely explored. In the present work, we investigate the effects of a nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, 7-nitroindazole (7-NI) in the nigrostriatal pathway of striatal 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesioned rats. Our quantitative histological findings show that treatment with 7-NI significantly reduced 6-OHDA-induced dopaminergic damage in the dorsolateral striatum and Substantia Nigra pars compacta (SNpc). Moreover, 6-OHDA lesioned rats show a significant increase of nNOS(+) and Phospho-Thr34-DARPP-32(+) cells, accompanied by a consequent decrease of total DARPP-32(+) cells, which suggests an imbalance of NO activity in the DA-depleted striatum, which is also reflected in behavioral studies. Importantly, these effects are reverted in the group treated with 7-NI. These results show a clear link between the state of phosphorylation of DARPP-32 and parkinsonism, which is regulated by nNOS. This new evidence suggests a prominent role for nitric oxide in the neurotransmitter balance within the basal ganglia in the pathophysiology of experimental parkinsonism.

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