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PPAR-gamma-mediated neuroprotection in a chronic mouse model of Parkinson’s disease


Dr A. R. Carta, as above.


Rosiglitazone is a commonly prescribed insulin-sensitizing drug with a selective agonistic activity on the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-γ). PPAR-γ can modulate inflammatory responses in the brain, and agonists might be beneficial in neurodegenerative diseases. In the present study we used a chronic 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine plus probenecid (MPTPp) mouse model of progressive Parkinson’s disease (PD) to assess the therapeutic efficacy of rosiglitazone on behavioural impairment, neurodegeneration and inflammation. Mice chronically treated with MPTPp displayed typical features of PD, including impairment of motor and olfactory functions associated with partial loss of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc), decrease of dopamine (DA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) content and dynorphin (Dyn) mRNA levels in the caudate-putamen (CPu), intense microglial and astroglial response in the SNc and CPu. Chronic rosiglitazone, administered in association with MPTPp, completely prevented motor and olfactory dysfunctions and loss of TH-positive cells in the SNc. In the CPu, loss of striatal DA was partially prevented, whereas decreases in DOPAC content and Dyn were fully counteracted. Moreover, rosiglitazone completely inhibited microglia reactivity in SNc and CPu, as measured by CD11b immunostaining, and partially inhibited astroglial response assessed by glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity. Measurement of striatal MPP+ levels 2, 4, 6 h and 3 days after chronic treatment indicated that MPTP metabolism was not altered by rosiglitazone. The results support the use of PPAR-γ agonists as a putative anti-inflammatory therapy aimed at arresting PD progression, and suggest that assessment in PD clinical trials is warranted.