Selective alterations of gene expression in mice induced by MPTP.Synapse. 2005 Jan; 55(1):45-51.S
1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,4,6,-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) is a selective neurotoxin that produces striatal dopamine depletion resulting in parkinsonism like symptoms in humans and is, therefore, used to generate animal models for Parkinson's disease (PD). In this study, C57BL/6N mice were treated with MPTP acutely (3x20 mg/kg, 2-hour interval, one day injection). Mice were then sacrificed 24 hours after the last injection and brain tissue was collected for analysis. Significant decrease of striatal dopamine (DA) and the metabolites (DOPAC, HVA) was observed after MPTP treatment. MPTP also reduced protein expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the striatum. Real time RT-PCR was used to examine selective genes of the dopaminergic system in the substantia nigra. Our data demonstrated that MPTP significantly decreased gene expression of TH, dopamine transporter (DAT), and vesicle monoamine transporter (VMAT), coinciding with the pattern of dopamine concentration changes and protein expression after MPTP treatment. Although a significant decrease of DA metabolites was observed in striatum, there was no change in the expression of monoamine oxidases (MAO-A, MAO-B) or catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT), indicating that these changes might be simply a consequence of reduced monoamine levels. In addition, gene expression of alpha-synuclein was also decreased with MPTP treatment, but there was no change in beta-synuclein and parkin. This is the first study using real-time PCR to indicate that MPTP selectively alters gene expression and provides information for clinical studies in PD. Future studies will focus on gene expression of other pathways that may be affected by MPTP treatment and investigation of gene expression in specific cell types in vivo using LCM technology.