The α7 nAChR agonist PNU-282987 reduces inflammation and MPTP-induced nigral dopaminergic cell loss in mice

Vanessa Stuckenholz, Michael Bacher, Monika Balzer-Geldsetzer, Daniel Alvarez-Fischer, Wolfgang H. Oertel, Richard C. Dodel, Carmen Noelker*

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit
24 Zitate (Scopus)


Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with neurodegeneration of dopaminergic neurons and an accompanying neuroinflammatory process in the substantia nigra (SN). The cholinergic anti-inflammatory signalling pathway allows the autonomic nervous system to modulate immunologic stimuli and inflammatory processes. A major component of this pathway is the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7 nACh receptor), which is expressed on immune cells such as microglia. 

Objective: To determine the role of this cholinergic anti-inflammatory signalling pathway, we investigated the effects of the selective α7 nACh agonist PNU-282987 and of the non-competitive nACh antagonist mecamylamine on microglia-induced neuroinflammation and toxin-induced degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in a mouse model of PD. 

Methods: PNU-282987, mecamylamine or placebo administration was started one day before MPTP intoxication and repeated daily until sacrifice after MPTP intoxication. C57Bl/6 mice were injected intraperitoneally four times at 2 h intervals with either 20 mg/kg MPTP-HCl or a corresponding volume of saline. Two or seven days after the end of the MPTP intoxication, the animals were killed and their brains were processed for further analysis. 

Results: Treatment with PNU-282987 resulted in an attenuation of neuroinflammation in the MPTP-lesioned SN. Furthermore, PNU-282987 attenuated MPTP-induced dopaminergic cell loss in the SN and reduced striatal dopamine depletion. Unexpectedly, mecamylamine lowered neuroinflammation as well, though it did not show a neuroprotective potential at the nigral level. 

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the therapeutic potential of the selective α7 nicotinic acetylcholine agonist PNU-282987 in attenuating neuroinflammation and toxin-induced loss of dopaminergic neurons in the acute MPTP mouse model of PD.

ZeitschriftJournal of Parkinson's Disease
Seiten (von - bis)161-172
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 22.07.2013


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