Dopamine neurons in ventral mesencephalon : interactions with glia and locus coeruleus

by Berglöf, Elisabet

Abstract (Summary)
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by a depletion of the dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. The cause of the disease is yet unknown but age, oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation are some of the features involved in the degeneration. In addition, substantial cell death of noradrenergic neurons occurs in the locus coeruleus (LC). Noradrenaline has been suggested to protect the dopamine neurons from oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. The main treatment of Parkinson’s disease is Levo-dopa, although severe side effects arise from this therapy. Hence, grafting fetal ventral mesencephalic (VM) tissue into the adult striatum has been evaluated as an alternative treatment for Parkinsons’s disease. However, the survival of the grafted neurons is limited, and the dopamine-denervated striatum does not become fully reinnervated. Therefore, elucidating factors that enhance dopamine nerve fiber formation and/or survival of the grafted neurons is of utmost importance.To investigate dopamine nerve fiber formation and the interactions with glial cells, organotypic VM tissue cultures were utilized. Two morphologically different nerve fiber outgrowths from the tissue slice were observed. Nerve fibers were initially formed in the absence of migrating astrocytes, although thin vimentin-positive astrocytic processes were detected within the same area. A second, persistent nerve fiber outgrowth was observed associated with migrating astrocytes. Hence, both of these nerve fiber outgrowths were to some extent dependent on astrocytes, and appeared as a general feature since this phenomenon was demonstrated in ?-tubulin, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), and aldehyde dehydrogenase A1 (ALDH1)-positive nerve fibers. Neither oligodendrocytes (NG2-positive cells), nor microglia (Iba-1-positive cells) exerted any effect on these two neuronal growths. Since astrocytes appeared to influence the nerve fiber formation, the role of proteoglycans, i.e. extracellular matrix molecules produced by astrocytes, was investigated. ?-xyloside was added to the cultures to inhibit proteoglycan synthesis. The results revealed a hampered astrocytic migration and proliferation, as well as a reduction of the glia-associated TH-positive nerve fiber outgrowth. Interestingly, the number of cultures displaying the non-glia-mediated TH-positive nerve fibers increased after ?-xyloside treatment, although the amount of TH-protein was not altered. Thus, proteoglycans produced by astrocytes appeared to be important in affecting the dopamine nerve fiber formation.The noradrenaline neurons in LC have been suggested to protect dopamine neurons from damage. Therefore, the interaction between VM and LC was evaluated. Using the intraocular grafting method, fetal VM and LC were grafted either as single grafts or as VM+LC co-grafts. Additionally, the recipient animals received 2% blueberry-enriched diet. The direct contact of LC promoted graft volume and survival of TH-positive neurons in the VM grafts. The number of dopamine neurons, derived preferably from the A9 (ALDH1/TH-positive) was increased, whereas the dopamine neurons from the A10 (calbindin/TH-positive) were not affected. A dense dopamine-?-hydroxylase (DBH)-positive innervation was correlated to the improved survival. Blueberry-enriched diet enhanced the number of TH-positive neurons in VM, although the graft size was not altered. The combination of blueberries and the presence of LC did not yield additive effects on the survival of VM grafts. The attachment of VM or the addition of blueberries did not affect the survival of TH-positive neurons in LC grafts. The number of Iba-1-positive microglia was decreased in co-grafted VM compared to single VM transplants. The addition of blueberries reduced the number of Iba-1-positive microglia in single VM transplants. Hence, the direct contact of LC or the addition of blueberries enhanced the survival of VM grafts.Taken together, these data demonstrate novel findings regarding the importance of astrocytes for the nerve fiber formation of dopamine neurons. Further, both the direct attachment of LC or antioxidant-enriched diet promote the survival of fetal VM grafts, while LC is not affected.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:MEDICINE; Morphology, cell biology, pathology; Morphology; Histology; Parkinson’s disease; ventral mesencephalon; nerve fiber formation; glia; locus coeruleus; grafting; antioxidant-enriched diet


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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