In recent years several clinical and research findings have demonstrated the involvement of the presynaptic protein α-synuclein in a variety of neurodegenerative disorders which are known as synucleinopathies. Although the function of this protein in the physiology of the cell remains unknown, it is evident that both genetic alterations or a mere overexpression of the native molecule produces a degeneration of nigral dopamine-containing neurons leading to movement disorders, as demonstrated in inherited Parkinson's disease. In the present study, we investigated whether widely abused drugs such as methamphetamine and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), which are known to damage the nigrostriatal dopamine pathway of mice, increase the expression of α-synuclein within dopamine neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta. The results of this study demonstrate that nigrostriatal dopamine denervation and occurrence of intracellular inclusions in nigral neurons produced by amphetamine derivatives are related to increased expression of α-synuclein within dopamine neurons of the substantia nigra. This lends substance to the hypothesis that increased amounts of native α-synuclein may be per se a detrimental factor for the dopamine neurons.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Brain Research Bulletin|
|Publication status||Published - May 15 2005|
- Parkinson's disease
- Substantia nigra
ASJC Scopus subject areas