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Control of microglial activation by T-cells in a murine model of 6-OHDA-induced dopaminergic neurodegeneration





This thesis work describes and analyzes the neuroinflammatory reaction that accompanies neuronal cell death in a murine model of Parkinson's disease. In this model, induced by the intrastriatal injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), a toxic dopamine analog, we report on the main features and kinetics of microglial activation, T-cell infiltration, loss of TH+ (Tyrosine Hydroxylase) dopaminergic neurons and motor behavior alterations. We also assessed the presence of T-cells in the susbstantia nigra of Parkinson's disease patients and found that, as observed in the 6-OHDA murine model, the neuronal cell death of dopaminergic neurons triggers a low-grade T-cell infiltration that accompanies microglial activation. We then studied the impact of genetically-determined T-cell immunodeficiency on histological and functional outcomes in the 6-OHDA model. Our results show that, as compared to immunocompetent control mice, immunodeficient strains consisting in Foxn1 KO, CD3 KO, NOD SCID or RAG KO mice consistently presented, at varied levels, a highest susceptibility to 6-OHDA induced dopaminergic neurodegeneration. The observed accentuation of neuronal cell loss was accompanied by a marked increase of microglial activation and motor behavior alterations. Our work demonstrates the pathophysiological role of neuroinflammation and adaptative immunity in the 6-OHDA model. It also suggests that T-cells infiltrating the substantia nigra of Parkinson's disease patients dampen microglial activation and could, via this inhibitory effect, slow the progression of dopaminergic cell loss. Overall this thesis work provides original data on the interactions between T-cells, microglia and dopaminergic neurons in the context of Parkinson's disease and the murine 6-OHDA model

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