Scientific publications

1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) does not elicit long-lasting increases in cyclooxygenase-2 expression in dopaminergic neurons of monkeys

Feb 1, 2009 | Magazine: Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology

Vázquez-Claverie M, Garrido-Gil P, San Sebastián W, Belzunegui S, Izal-Azcárate A, López B, Marcilla I, Luquin MR.
Laboratory of Regenerative Therapy, Department of Neurology and Neuroscience Division, Centre for Applied Medical Research, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.


To elucidate the role of the prostaglandin synthase cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) and the mechanisms of dopaminergic (DA) neurodegeneration, monkeys were injected subacutely or chronically (n = 5/group) with 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine.

Chronically treated animals developed parkinsonian signs and were killed 6 months after the last treatment; tyrosine hydroxylase-expressing neurons decreased in all substantia nigra (SN) cell groups in both treatment groups. In untreated controls (n = 3), there was low Cox-2 expression in ventral SN DA neurons and high expression in ventral tegmental area neurons. In subacutely treated monkeys, Cox-2 expression increased in surviving DA cells, particularly in the ventrolateral SN.

In chronically treated monkeys, enhanced Cox-2 expression appeared only in surviving ventral tegmental area and ventral SN neurons. Thus increased Cox-2 did not persist in other SN neurons after discontinuing 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,36-tetrahydropyridine. Some DA neurons in treated but not control monkeys expressed the active nuclear form of phospho-c-Jun, but not the active form of nuclear factor-kappaB.

We conclude that Cox-2 expression does not confer vulnerability to neurodegeneration in DA neurons and that it is unlikely that a subacute insult to DA neurons can perpetuate degeneration through Cox-2 activation. Other mechanisms, probably through the Jun N-terminal kinase cascade, lead to DA cell death in this model.

CITATION  J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2009 Jan;68(1):26-36

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