Browsing by Author "Uhari, Johanna"

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  • Uhari, Johanna (2010)
    Part I: Parkinson’s disease is a slowly progressive neurodegenerative disorder in which particularly the dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta degenerate and die. Current conventional treatment is based on restraining symptoms but it has no effect on the progression of the disease. Gene therapy research has focused on the possibility of restoring the lost brain function by at least two means: substitution of critical enzymes needed for the synthesis of dopamine and slowing down the progression of the disease by supporting the functions of the remaining nigral dopaminergic neurons by neurotrophic factors. The striatal levels of enzymes such as tyrosine hydroxylase, dopadecarboxylase and GTP-CH1 are decreased as the disease progresses. By replacing one or all of the enzymes, dopamine levels in the striatum may be restored to normal and behavioral impairments caused by the disease may be ameliorated especially in the later stages of the disease. The neurotrophic factors glial cell derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and neurturin have shown to protect and restore functions of dopaminergic cell somas and terminals as well as improve behavior in animal lesion models. This therapy may be best suited at the early stages of the disease when there are more dopaminergic neurons for neurotrophic factors to reach. Viral vector-mediated gene transfer provides a tool to deliver proteins with complex structures into specific brain locations and provides long-term protein over-expression. Part II: The aim of our study was to investigate the effects of two orally dosed COMT inhibitors entacapone (10 and 30 mg/kg) and tolcapone (10 and 30 mg/kg) with a subsequent administration of a peripheral dopadecarboxylase inhibitor carbidopa (30 mg/kg) and L- dopa (30 mg/kg) on dopamine and its metabolite levels in the dorsal striatum and nucleus accumbens of freely moving rats using dual-probe in vivo microdialysis. Earlier similarly designed studies have only been conducted in the dorsal striatum. We also confirmed the result of earlier ex vivo studies regarding the effects of intraperitoneally dosed tolcapone (30 mg/kg) and entacapone (30 mg/kg) on striatal and hepatic COMT activity. The results obtained from the dorsal striatum were generally in line with earlier studies, where tolcapone tended to increase dopamine and DOPAC levels and decrease HVA levels. Entacapone tended to keep striatal dopamine and HVA levels elevated longer than in controls and also tended to elevate the levels of DOPAC. Surprisingly in the nucleus accumbens, dopamine levels after either dose of entacapone or tolcapone were not elevated. Accumbal DOPAC levels, especially in the tolcapone 30 mg/kg group, were elevated nearly to the same extent as measured in the dorsal striatum. Entacapone 10 mg/kg elevated accumbal HVA levels more than the dose of 30 mg/kg and the effect was more pronounced in the nucleus accumbens than in the dorsal striatum. This suggests that entacapone 30 mg/kg has minor central effects. Also our ex vivo study results obtained from the dorsal striatum suggest that entacapone 30 mg/kg has minor and transient central effects, even though central HVA levels were not suppressed below those of the control group in either brain area in the microdialysis study. Both entacapone and tolcapone suppressed hepatic COMT activity more than striatal COMT activity. Tolcapone was more effective than entacapone in the dorsal striatum. The differences between dopamine and its metabolite levels in the dorsal striatum and nucleus accumbens may be due to different properties of the two brain areas.