Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide protects dopaminergic neurons and improves behavioral deficits in a rat model of Parkinson's disease

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Abstract

Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) is a pleiotropic neuropeptide, exerting different actions in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Among others, it has neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects. In the present study, we investigated the effects of PACAP in a rat model of Parkinson's disease. Rats were given unilateral injections of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the substantia nigra. PACAP-treated animals received 0.1μg PACAP as a pretreatment. Control animals without PACAP treatment displayed severe hypokinesia at 1 and 10 days postlesion when compared to animals receiving saline only. In only 1 day postlesion, by contrast, PACAP-treated rats showed no hypokinesia. Asymmetrical signs, such as turning, rearing and biased thigmotaxic scanning were observed in all lesioned animals 1 day postlesion. PACAP-treated animals, however, showed better recovery as they ceased to display asymmetrical signs 10 days later and showed markedly less apomorphine-induced rotations. Tyrosine-hydroxylase immunohistochemistry revealed that control animals had more than 95% loss of the dopaminergic cells in the ipsilateral substantia nigra, while PACAP-treated animals had only approximately 50% loss of dopaminergic cells. In summary, the present results show the neuroprotective effect of PACAP in 6-OHDA-induced lesion of substantia nigra, with less severe acute neurological symptoms and a more rapid amelioration of behavioral deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-312
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume151
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 5 2004

Keywords

  • Neuroprotection
  • PACAP
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Substantia nigra
  • Tyrosine-hydroxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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