Pharmacological Ablation of Astroglia in a Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease

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Groulx, Chase Edward




Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative motor disorder that currently has no effective treatment to halt the degeneration. While most studies examining this disease have focused on neurons, there is now an increasing interest in the role astrocytes play. Using 6-OHDA, as well as an astrocyte-specific gliotoxin, D- alpha-aminoadipic acid, we examined how dopamine cells would react to the sudden loss of the surrounding astrocytes. We found that a modest loss of astrocytes leads to dopaminergic cell death that is comparable to that which is seen in the group that received 6-OHDA. Furthermore, we observed behavioural deficits in the rats that received the gliotoxin to be on par with rats that received the neurotoxin. Together, the data suggests that a slight loss of astrocytes in the substantia nigra has detrimental effects on neuronal survival and motor behaviour, demonstrating that the pathology observed in Parkinson's disease could stem from astrocytes.




Carleton University

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