Lesion of the pedunculopontine nucleus reverses hyperactivity of the subthalamic nucleus and substantia nigra pars reticulata in a 6-hydroxydopamine rat model

Authors

  • S. Breit,

    1. Center of Neurology and Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Department of Neurodegeneration, University of Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Str. 3, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
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  • L. Lessmann,

    1. Center of Neurology and Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Department of Neurodegeneration, University of Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Str. 3, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
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  • D. Unterbrink,

    1. Center of Neurology and Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Department of Neurodegeneration, University of Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Str. 3, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
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  • R. C. Popa,

    1. Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, University of Tübingen, Germany
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  • T. Gasser,

    1. Center of Neurology and Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Department of Neurodegeneration, University of Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Str. 3, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
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  • J. B. Schulz

    1. Center of Neurology and Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Department of Neurodegeneration, University of Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Str. 3, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
    2. Department of Neurodegeneration and Restorative Research, Centers of Neurological Medicine and Molecular Physiology of the Brain, University of Göttingen, Germany
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Dr S. Breit, as above.
E-mail: sorin.breit@uni-tuebingen.de

Abstract

The pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) and the subthalamic nucleus (STN) are reciprocally connected by excitatory projections. In the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) rat model the PPN was found to be hyperactive. Similarly, the STN and the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) showed increased activity in Parkinson's disease (PD) animal models. A lesion of the STN was shown to restore increased activity levels in the SNr of 6-OHDA-treated rats. As the STN and the PPN were reciprocally connected by excitatory projections and both structures were shown to be hyperactive in PD animal models, the present study was performed in order to investigate the changes in neuronal activity of the STN and SNr under urethane anesthesia after unilateral ibotenic acid lesioning of the PPN in animals with previous unilateral 6-OHDA lesions of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). The firing rate of STN neurons significantly increased from 10.3 ± 0.6 spikes/s (mean ± SEM) to 17.8 ± 1.8 spikes/s after SNc lesion and returned to normal levels of 10.8 ± 0.7 spikes/s after additional lesion of the PPN. Similarly, the firing rate of SNr neurons significantly increased from 19.0 ± 1.1 to 25.9 ± 1.4 spikes/s after SNc lesion, the hyperactivity being reversed after additional PPN lesion to 16.8 ± 1.2 spikes/s. The reversal of STN and SNr hyperactivity of 6-OHDA-treated rats by additional PPN lesion suggests an important modulatory influence of the PPN on STN activity. Moreover, these findings could indicate a new therapeutic strategy in PD by interventional modulation of the PPN.

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