BACKGROUND: Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterised by dopaminergic cell loss within the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) that leads to reduced striatal dopamine content and resulting motor deficits. Identifying new strategies to protect these cells from degeneration and retain striatal dopaminergic innervation is therefore of great importance. Chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are recognised contributors to the inhibitory extracellular milieu known to hinder tissue recovery following CNS damage. Digestion of these molecules by the bacterial lyase chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) has been shown to promote functional recovery in animal models of neurological injury. Although ChABC has been shown to promote sprouting of dopaminergic axons following transection of the nigrostriatal pathway, its ability to protect against nigrostriatal degeneration in a toxin-based module with better construct validity for PD has yet to be explored. Here we examined the neuroprotective efficacy of ChABC treatment in the full and partial 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesion mouse models of PD.
RESULTS: In mice bearing a full 6-OHDA lesion, ChABC treatment failed to protect against the loss of either nigral cells or striatal terminals. In contrast, in mice bearing a partial 6-OHDA lesion, ChABC treatment significantly protected cells of the rostral SNc, which remained at more than double the numbers seen in vehicle-treated animals. In the partial lesion model, ChABC treatment also significantly preserved dopaminergic fibres of the rostral dorsal striatum which increased from 15.3 ± 3.5% of the intact hemisphere in saline-treated animals to 36.3 ± 6.5% in the ChABC-treated group. These protective effects of ChABC treatment were not accompanied by improvements in either the cylinder or amphetamine-induced rotations tests of motor function.
CONCLUSIONS: ChABC treatment provided significant protection against a partial 6-OHDA lesion of the nigrostriatal tract although the degree of protection was not sufficient to improve motor outcomes. These results support further investigations into the benefits of ChABC treatment for providing neuroprotection in PD.
- Chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans
- Chondroitinase ABC
- Parkinson's disease