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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2019 Jul 1;317(1):G1-G7. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00076.2019. Epub 2019 May 1.

Altered gastric tone and motility response to brain-stem dopamine in a rat model of parkinsonism.

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Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University , Hershey, Pennsylvania.


The majority of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) experience gastrointestinal dysfunction. Recently, we described a nigro-vagal pathway that uses dopaminergic (DA) inputs to the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) and A2 area neurons to modulate gastric motility and tone. This pathway is disrupted in a rodent model of PD. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that brain-stem DA modulation of gastric tone and motility is altered in a rodent model of PD. Male Sprague-Dawley rats received three weekly intraperitoneal injections of paraquat (10 mg/kg) or saline (control). In naive conditions, microinjection of DA into the DMV induced a gastroinhibitory response in 100% of animals. In 19 of 28 PQ-treated animals, however, microinjection of DA into the DVC induced a biphasic response, with an initial increase in gastric tone and motility followed by a profound gastroinhibition. The excitatory response to DA microinjection was attenuated by a combination of DA type 1 (DA1)- and DA2-like receptor antagonists. Conversely, the inhibitory response was reduced by the DA2-like receptor antagonist only. Pretreatment with the α2-adrenoceptor antagonist yohimbine did not modulate the response to DA, thus excluding involvement of the A2 area. At the end of the experiments, induction of the Parkinson phenotype was confirmed by the presence of α-synuclein immunoreactivity in the DMV and substantia nigra pars compacta. These data suggest a maladaptive neural plasticity in brain-stem vagal circuits regulating gastric motility in PQ-treated rats that may be responsible for the gastric dysfunction observed in PD models. NEW & NOTEWORTHY After paraquat treatment and induction of Parkinson's disease, brain-stem dopamine (DA) application induces a biphasic gastric response in the majority of rats, with an initial increase in tone and motility followed by gastroinhibition. The initial increase in gastric tone and motility is mediated via a combined activation of DA type 1 (DA1)- and DA2-like receptors. The inhibitory effects of DA are mediated by DA2-like receptors and are not affected by blockade of adrenergic inputs mediated by α2-adrenoceptors.


brain stem; dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus; in vivo vagus

[Available on 2020-07-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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