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Brain Res. 1999 Jan 30;817(1-2):163-71.

GDNF improves dopamine function in the substantia nigra but not the putamen of unilateral MPTP-lesioned rhesus monkeys.

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Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 4200 E. Ninth Avenue, Campus Box C268-71, Denver, CO, USA.


Microdialysis measurements of dopamine (DA) and DA metabolites were carried out in the putamen and substantia nigra of unilateral 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-lesioned rhesus monkeys that received intraventricular injections of vehicle or glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF, 300 microg) 3 weeks prior to the microdialysis studies. Following behavioral measures in the MPTP-lesioned monkeys, they were anesthetized with isoflurane and placed in a stereotaxic apparatus. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided sterile stereotaxic procedures were used for implantations of the microdialysis probes. Basal extracellular levels of DA and the DA metabolites, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homovanillic acid (HVA), were found to be decreased by >95% in the right putamen of the MPTP-lesioned monkeys as compared to normal animals. In contrast, basal DA levels were not significantly decreased, and DOPAC and HVA levels were decreased by only 65% and 30%, respectively, in the MPTP-lesioned substantia nigra. Significant reductions in d-amphetamine-evoked DA release were also observed in the MPTP-lesioned substantia nigra and putamen of the monkeys as compared to normal animals. A single intraventricular administration of GDNF into one group of MPTP-lesioned monkeys elicited improvements in the parkinsonian symptoms in these animals at 2-3 weeks post-administration. In addition, d-amphetamine-evoked overflow of DA was significantly increased in the substantia nigra but not the putamen of MPTP-lesioned monkeys that had received GDNF. Moreover, post-mortem brain tissue studies showed increases in whole tissue levels of DA and DA metabolite levels primarily within the substantia nigra in MPTP-lesioned monkeys that had received GDNF. Taken together, these data support that single ventricular infusions of GDNF produce improvements in motoric behavior in MPTP-lesioned monkeys that correlate with increases in DA neuronal function that are localized to the substantia nigra and not the putamen.

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