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Title: Neural vulnerability in models of Parkinson's disease
Author: Mo, Mimi Shin Ning
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with no known cure. This thesis explores the degenerative process in two neurotoxin-based models, the 6-hydroxydopamine and the chronic 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine(MPTP)/probenecid mouse models, to yield important information about the pathogenesis of PD. Neuronal survival patterns in Parkinsonian patients and animals are heterogeneous. More dopaminergic neurons are lost from the ventral tier of the substantia nigra (SN) than from the dorsal tier or the adjacent ventral tegmental area, possibly due to differential expression of the calcium-binding protein, calbindin D28K. Brain sections were processed for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and calbindin (CB) immunocytochemistry to distinguish the dopaminergic subpopulations. I show that more TH+/CB- and TH-/CB+ than TH+/CB+ neurons are lost in both models, suggesting that CB confers some degree of protection for dopaminergic neurons. With respect to connectivity, I show that both TH+ and CB+ neurons receive striatal and dorsal raphe inputs. I investigated the possibility of a progressive loss in midbrain neurons by prolonging the post-lesion survival period. In both models, there is an irreversible neuronal cell loss of TH+, CB+ and TH+/CB+ neurons but the effects of survival time and lesion treatments differ for the three neuronal types. The lesions also appear to be toxic to GABAergic neurons. I explore whether, once neurodegeneration has started, neurons can be rescued by pharmacological intervention. Salicylic acid appears both to reduce microglial activation and significantly improve TH+, but not CB+ or TH+/CB+ neuronal survival. PD appears multifactorial in origin and may involve complex interactions between genetic and environmental influences. I show that a xenobiotic-metabolising enzyme, arylamine N-acetyltransferase may fulfil a neuroprotective role in the SN by limiting the environmental risks. Taken together, this study provides a body of information on two different mouse PD models and highlights possible genetic predispositions to PD neuropathology.
Supervisor: Totterdell, Susan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Parkinson's disease ; Pathogenesis ; Neurons