Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Activation of glial cells is a prevalent response to neuronal damage in brain disease and ageing, with potential neuroprotective and neurotoxic consequences. We were interested in studying the role of glial activation on dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra in an animal model of Parkinson's disease. Thus, we evaluated the effect of a pre-existing glial activation on the dopaminergic neuronal death induced by striatal infusion of 6-hydroxydopamine. We established a model of local glial activation by stereotaxic infusion of interleukin-1β in the substantia nigra of adult rats. Interleukin-1β (20 ng) induced a marked activation of astrocytes at days 2, 5 and 10, revealed by heat-shock protein 27 and glial fibrillary acid protein immunohistochemistry, but did not affect the microglial markers OX-42 and heat-shock proteins 32 or 47. Intranigral infusion of interleukin-1β 5 days before a striatal injection of 6-hydroxydopamine significantly protected nigral dopaminergic cell bodies, but not striatal terminals from the 6-hydroxydopamine lesion. Also, in the animals pre-treated with interleukin-1β, a significant prevention of 6-hydroxydopamine-induced reduction of adjusting steps, but not of 6-hydroxydopamine-induced amphetamine rotations, were observed. These data show the characterization of a novel model of local astroglial activation in the substantia nigra and support the hypothesis of a neuroprotective role of activated astrocytes in Parkinson's disease.
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