Delayed gene therapy of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor is efficacious in a rat model of Parkinson's disease.Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2005 Mar 24; 134(1):155-61.BR
Gene transfer of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in rodent models of Parkinson's disease (PD) has been shown to protect against neurodegeneration either prior to or immediately after neurotoxin-induced lesions; however, the nigrostriatal pathway was largely intact when gene delivery was completed in these models, which may not accurately reflect the clinical situation encountered with Parkinson's patients. In this study, replication-incompetent adenoviral vectors encoding the rat GDNF gene were administered into the striatum 4 weeks following 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) injection in the unilateral striatum, more closely resembling fully developed PD. Apomorphine-induced rotational behavior testing was performed every week following 6-OHDA injection. At the 10th week after gene transfer, the striatal dopamine concentrations were measured by HPLC with an electrochemical detector and the number of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra (SN) was determined by immunohistochemistry. Injection of 6-OHDA into the striatum produced stable increases in rotation, which reached a plateau between 4 and 5 weeks post-injection. The number of TH-positive neuron in the SN and dopamine levels in the striatum was significantly lower in the 6-OHDA group compared to the normal group. Gene transfer of GDNF, but not beta-galactosidase, significantly increased the number of TH-positive neurons and dopamine levels, with a subsequent behavioral recovery between 5 and 10 weeks following GDNF transduction. These findings demonstrate that adenovirus-mediated gene transfer of GDNF is efficacious even in the late stages of 6-OHDA-induced PD rats. They also provide further evidence on the effectiveness of GDNF-based gene therapy for experimental Parkinson's disease.