Background: Recent studies support the therapeutic utility of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in Parkinson's disease (PD), whose progression is correlated with loss of corticostriatal long-term potentiation and long-term depression. Glial cell activation is also a feature of PD that is gaining increasing attention in the field because astrocytes play a role in chronic neuroinflammatory responses but are also able to manage dopamine (DA) levels. Methods: Intermittent theta-burst stimulation protocol was applied to study the effect of therapeutic neuromodulation on striatal DA levels measured by means of in vivo microdialysis in 6-hydroxydopamine-hemilesioned rats. Effects on corticostriatal synaptic plasticity were studied through in vitro intracellular and whole-cell patch clamp recordings while stepping test and CatWalk were used to test motor behavior. Immunohistochemical analyses were performed to analyze morphological changes in neurons and glial cells. Results: Acute theta-burst stimulation induced an increase in striatal DA levels in hemiparkinsonian rats, 80 minutes post-treatment, correlated with full recovery of plasticity and amelioration of motor performances. With the same timing, immediate early gene activation was restricted to striatal spiny neurons. Intense astrocytic and microglial responses were also significantly reduced 80 minutes following theta-burst stimulation. Conclusion: Taken together, these results provide a first glimpse on physiological adaptations that occur in the parkinsonian striatum following intermittent theta-burst stimulation and may help to disclose the real potential of this technique in treating PD and preventing DA replacement therapy-associated disturbances.
- corticostriatal synaptic plasticity
- long-term potentiation
- Parkinson's disease
- transcranial magnetic stimulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology