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The lipopolysaccharide Parkinson’s disease animal model: mechanistic studies and drug discovery


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Research in the last two decades has unveiled an important role for neuroinflammation in the degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic (DA) pathway that constitutes the pathological basis of the prevailing movement disorder, Parkinson’s disease (PD). Neuroinflammation is characterized by the activation of brain glial cells, primarily microglia and astrocytes that release various soluble factors that include free radicals (reactive oxygen and nitrogen species), cytokines, and lipid metabolites. The majority of these glia-derived factors are proinflammatory and neurotoxic and are particularly deleterious to oxidative damage-vulnerable nigral DA neurons. As a proof of concept, various immunologic stimuli have been employed to directly induce glial activation to model DA neurodegeneration in PD. The bacterial endotoxin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), has been the most extensively utilized glial activator for the induction of inflammatory DA neurodegeneration. In this review, we will summarize the various in vitro and in vivo LPS PD models. Furthermore, we will highlight the contribution of the LPS PD models to the mechanistic studies of PD pathogenesis and the search for neuroprotective agents for the treatment of PD.