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Brain Res. 2016 Sep 1;1646:354-365. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2016.05.038. Epub 2016 May 24.

Characterization of liraglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, in rat partial and full nigral 6-hydroxydopamine lesion models of Parkinson's disease.

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Gubra, Agern Allé1, DK-2970 Hoersholm, Denmark. Electronic address:
Gubra, Agern Allé1, DK-2970 Hoersholm, Denmark.
Neurobiology Research Unit, Rigshospitalet, Juliane Maries Vej 28, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.
Diabetes Research, Novo Nordisk A/S, Novo Nordisk Park, DK-2760 Maaloev, Denmark.
Gubra, Agern Allé1, DK-2970 Hoersholm, Denmark. Electronic address:


Exendin-4, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, have been demonstrated to promote neuroprotection in the rat 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) neurotoxin model of Parkinson's disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive nigrostriatal dopaminergic neuron loss. In this report, we characterized the effect of a long-acting GLP-1 receptor agonist, liraglutide (500µg/kg/day, s.c.) in the context of a partial or advanced (full) 6-OHDA induced nigral lesion in the rat. Rats received a low (3µg, partial lesion) or high (13.5µg, full lesion) 6-OHDA dose stereotaxically injected into the right medial forebrain bundle (n=17-20 rats per experimental group). Six weeks after induction of a partial nigral dopaminergic lesion, vehicle or liraglutide was administered for four weeks. In the full lesion model, vehicle dosing or liraglutide treatment was applied for a total of six weeks starting three weeks pre-lesion, or administered for three weeks starting on the lesion day. Quantitative stereology was applied to assess the total number of midbrain tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) positive dopaminergic neurons. As compared to vehicle controls, liraglutide had no effect on the rotational responsiveness to d-amphetamine or apomorphine, respectively. In correspondence, while numbers of TH-positive nigral neurons were significantly reduced in the lesion side (partial lesion ≈55%; full lesion ≈90%) liraglutide administration had no influence dopaminergic neuronal loss in either PD model setting. In conclusion, liraglutide showed no neuroprotective effects in the context of moderate or substantial midbrain dopaminergic neuronal loss and associated functional motor deficits in the rat 6-OHDA lesion model of PD.


6-Hydroxydopamine; Dopaminergic neuron; GLP-1 receptor agonist; Liraglutide; Parkinson's disease; Tyrosine hydroxylase

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