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Neuroinflammation and neuroprotection in Parkinson's disease animal model mimicking the early stages of the disease (6-hydroxydopamine lesion in rat)



ID: <10670/1.9p4k0z>


Currently, therapeutic strategies in Parkinson’s disease are symptomatic and the progression of the disease is uncontrolled, requiring the development of new neuroprotective approaches. Neuroinflammation plays a major role in the neurodegenerative process where it occurs early through the activation of glial cells (microglia and astrocytes). Based on the use of animal models mimicking the early stages of the disease, the development of anti-inflammatory strategies is therefore a promising therapeutic approach. This thesis work consisted in the development and the characterisation of a partial 6-hydroxydopamine lesion model in rats in order to evaluate the effects of an original therapeutic strategy based on the combined use of a α7 nicotinic receptors agonist and a σ1 receptors agonist. Using different experimental approaches, we first evaluated the neurodegenerative and neuroinflammation processes in the model that we developped. Our results showed a partial and reproductible degeneration of nigro-striatal dopaminergic neurons associated with a marked neuroinflammation. Our metabolic analyses have also revealed several specific alterations, providing new insight on the mechanisms involved in the neurodegenerative process. Using positron emission tomography imaging, we then evaluated longitudinally the expression profile of α7 nicotinic receptors in the key structures of the nigro-striatal pathway. Our results showed transient changes in the density of these receptors that may be linked to biphasic microglial responses in association with the kinetics of neuronal degeneration. Thus, these results reinforce the hypothesis of specifically targeting α7 nicotinic receptors in order to reduce the neuroinflammatory processes. Finally, we evaluated the effects of our therapeutic strategy in the model and our results showed that this type of combination partially preserves the integrity of nigro-striatal dopaminergic neurons and reduces glial reactions in lesioned animals. Although it is necessary to confirm and extend these results, this type of combination could represent a promising new pharmacological approach in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

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