We have previously reported that grafting of fetal ventral mesencephalic (VM) tissue to the nigral region of unilaterally 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-lesioned rats, in conjunction with glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) injection between nigra and striatum, restores nigrostriatal tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactivity. In this study, we investigated the electrochemical indices of dopamine (DA) release in these grafted animals in the striatum and nigra. Adult Sprague-Dawley rats were anesthetized and unilaterally injected with 6-OHDA into the medial forebrain bundle. The completeness of lesions was tested by measuring methamphetamine-induced rotations. One to two months after 6-OHDA administration, fetal VM tissues were grafted in the lesioned nigral area followed by injection of GDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), along a tract from nigra to striatum. Animals receiving transplantation and GDNF, but not BDNF or PBS, injection showed a significant decrease in rotation 1-3 months after grafting. High-speed chronoamperometric recording techniques, using Nafion-coated carbon fiber electrodes, were used to evaluate DA overflow in the striatum. We found that 6-OHDA lesions resulted in a loss of KCl-induced DA overflow in the urethane-anesthetized rats. Three months after GDNF-bridged grafting, application of KCl elicited DA release both in nigra and striatum. The KCl-evoked DA release area was limited to the GDNF-bridging tract in the striatum. On the other hand, KCl did not induce DA release in the BDNF- or PBS-bridged grafts. Immunocytochemical studies indicated that TH-positive neurons and fibers were found in the nigra and striatum after GDNF-bridged grafting. Taken together, our data suggest that fetal nigral transplantation and GDNF injection may restore the nigrostriatal DA pathway and DA release in these hemiparkinsonian animals and support the hypothesis of trophic activity of GDNF on fiber outgrowth from midbrain DA neurons.
- Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor
- Parkinson's disease
- Substantia nigra grafts
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