(18)F-FECNT: validation as PET dopamine transporter ligand in parkinsonism.
ABSTRACT: The positron emission tomography (PET) tracer 2?-carbomethoxy-3?-(4-chlorophenyl)-8-(2-[18F]-fluoroethyl)-nortropane ((18)F-FECNT) is a highly specific ligand for dopamine transporter (DAT) that yields higher peak striatum-to-cerebellum ratios and offers more favorable kinetics than most (18)F-radiolabeled DAT ligands currently available. The goal of this study is to validate the use of (18)F-FECNT as a PET radiotracer to assess the degree of striatal dopamine terminals denervation and midbrain dopaminergic cell loss in MPTP-treated parkinsonian monkeys. Three rhesus monkeys received weekly injections of MPTP (0.2-0.5 mg/kg) for 21 weeks, which resulted in the progressive development of a moderate level of parkinsonism. We carried out (18)F-FECNT PET at baseline (twice; 10 weeks apart) and at week 21 post-MPTP injections. Postmortem stereological cell counts of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral midbrain, and intensity measurements of DAT and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactivity in the striatum were performed and correlated with striatal and ventral midbrain PET data. Three additional monkeys were used as controls for midbrain dopaminergic cell counts, and striatal DAT or TH immunoreactivity measurements. The correlation and coefficient of variance between (18)F-FECNT test-retest specific uptake ratios were 0.99 (R²) and 2.65%, respectively. The (18)F-FECNT binding potential of the ventral midbrain and striatal regions was tightly correlated with postmortem stereological cell counts of nigral dopaminergic neurons (R²=0.91), and striatal DAT (R²=0.83) or TH (R²=0.88) immunoreactivity intensity measurements. These findings demonstrate that (18)F-FECNT is a highly sensitive PET imaging ligand to quantify both striatal dopamine denervation and midbrain dopaminergic cell loss associated with parkinsonism.
Project description:Although the brain-gut axis appears to play a role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease, the precise mechanisms underlying the actions of gut microbiota in this disease are unknown. This study was undertaken to investigate whether antibiotic-induced microbiome depletion affects dopaminergic neurotoxicity in the mouse brain after administration of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). MPTP significantly decreased dopamine transporter (DAT) immunoreactivity in the striatum and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactivity in the substantia nigra of water-treated mice. However, MPTP did not decrease DAT or TH immunoreactivity in the brains of mice treated with an antibiotic cocktail. Furthermore, antibiotic treatment significantly decreased the diversity and altered the composition of the host gut microbiota at the genus and species levels. Interestingly, MPTP also altered microbiome composition in antibiotic-treated mice. These findings suggest that antibiotic-induced microbiome depletion might protect against MPTP-induced dopaminergic neurotoxicity in the brain via the brain-gut axis.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Interpretation of diffusion MRI in the living brain requires validation against gold standard histological measures. We compared diffusion values of the nigrostriatal tract to PET and histological results in non-human primates (NHPs) with varying degrees of unilateral nigrostriatal injury induced by MPTP, a toxin selective for dopaminergic neurons.<h4>Methods</h4>Sixteen NHPs had MRI and PET scans of three different presynaptic radioligands and blinded video-based motor ratings before and after unilateral carotid artery infusion of variable doses of MPTP. Diffusion measures of connections between midbrain and striatum were calculated. Then animals were euthanized to quantify striatal dopamine concentration, stereologic measures of striatal tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunostained fiber density and unbiased stereologic counts of TH stained nigral cells.<h4>Results</h4>Diffusion measures correlated with MPTP dose, nigral TH-positive cell bodies and striatal TH-positive fiber density but did not correlate with in vitro nigrostriatal terminal field measures or in vivo PET measures of striatal uptake of presynaptic markers. Once nigral TH cell count loss exceeded 50% the stereologic terminal field measures reached a near zero floor effect but the diffusion measures continued to correlate with nigral cell counts.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Diffusion measures in the nigrostriatal tract correlate with nigral dopamine neurons and striatal fiber density, but have the same relationship to terminal field measures as a previous report of striatal PET measures of presynaptic neurons. These diffusion measures have the potential to act as non-invasive index of the severity of nigrostriatal injury. Diffusion imaging of the nigrostriatal tract could potentially have diagnostic value in humans with Parkinson disease or related disorders.
Project description:<h4>Purpose</h4>The aim of this study was to examine whether the translocator protein 18-kDa (TSPO) PET ligand [<sup>18</sup>F]FEPPA has the sensitivity for detecting changes in CD68-positive microglial/macrophage activation in hemiparkinsonian rhesus macaques treated with allogeneic grafts of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived midbrain dopaminergic neurons (iPSC-mDA).<h4>Methods</h4>In vivo positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with [<sup>18</sup>F]FEPPA was used in conjunction with postmortem CD68 immunostaining to evaluate neuroinflammation in the brains of hemiparkinsonian rhesus macaques (n = 6) that received allogeneic iPSC-mDA grafts in the putamen ipsilateral to MPTP administration.<h4>Results</h4>Based on assessment of radiotracer uptake and confirmed by visual inspection of the imaging data, nonhuman primates with allogeneic grafts showed increased [<sup>18</sup>F]FEPPA binding at the graft sites relative to the contralateral putamen. From PET asymmetry analysis of the images, the mean asymmetry index of the monkeys was AI = - 0.085 ± 0.018. Evaluation and scoring of CD68 immunoreactivity by an investigator blind to the treatment identified significantly more neuroinflammation in the grafted areas of the putamen compared to the contralateral putamen (p = 0.0004). [<sup>18</sup>F]FEPPA PET AI showed a positive correlation with CD68 immunoreactivity AI ratings in the monkeys (Spearman's ? = 0.94; p = 0.005).<h4>Conclusion</h4>These findings reveal that [<sup>18</sup>F]FEPPA PET is an effective marker for detecting increased CD68-positive microglial/macrophage activation and demonstrates sufficient sensitivity to detect changes in neuroinflammation in vivo following allogeneic cell engraftment.
Project description:We used positron emission tomography (PET) to measure the earliest change in dopaminergic synapses and glial cell markers in a chronic, low-dose MPTP non-human primate model of Parkinson's disease (PD). In vivo levels of dopamine transporters (DAT), vesicular monoamine transporter-type 2 (VMAT2), amphetamine-induced dopamine release (AMPH-DAR), D2-dopamine receptors (D2R) and translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO) were measured longitudinally in the striatum of MPTP-treated animals. We report an early (2 months) decrease (46%) of striatal VMAT2 in asymptomatic MPTP animals that preceded changes in DAT, D2R, and AMPH-DAR and was associated with increased TSPO levels indicative of a glial response. Subsequent PET studies showed progressive loss of all pre-synaptic dopamine markers in the striatum with expression of parkinsonism. However, glial cell activation did not track disease progression. These findings indicate that decreased VMAT2 is a key pathogenic event that precedes nigrostriatal dopamine neuron degeneration. The loss of VMAT2 may result from an association with alpha-synuclein aggregation induced by oxidative stress. Disruption of dopamine sequestration by reducing VMAT2 is an early pathogenic event in the dopamine neuron degeneration that occurs in the MPTP non-human primate model of PD. Genetic or environmental factors that decrease VMAT2 function may be important determinants of PD.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma) agonist pioglitazone has previously been shown to attenuate dopaminergic cell loss in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model of Parkinson's disease, an effect attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties. In the present investigation, we provide evidence that pioglitazone is effective in the MPTP mouse model, not via an anti-inflammatory action, but through inhibition of MAO-B, the enzyme required to biotransform MPTP to its active neurotoxic metabolite 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+). EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Mice were treated with pioglitazone (20 mg kg(-1) b.i.d. (twice a day), p.o., for 7 days), prior and post or post-MPTP (30 mg kg(-1) s.c.) treatment. Mice were then assessed for motor impairments on a beam-walking apparatus and for reductions in TH immunoreactivity in the substantia nigra and depletions in striatal dopamine. The effects of pioglitazone on striatal MPP+ levels and MAO-B activity were also assessed. KEY RESULTS: Mice treated with MPTP showed deficits in motor performance, marked depletions in striatal dopamine levels and a concomitant reduction in TH immunoreactivity in the substantia nigra. Pretreatment with pioglitazone completely prevented these effects of MPTP. However, pretreatment with pioglitazone also significantly inhibited the MPTP-induced production of striatal MPP+ and the activity of MAO-B in the striatum. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: The neuroprotection observed with pioglitazone pretreatment in the MPTP mouse model was due to the blockade of the conversion of MPTP to its active toxic metabolite MPP+, via inhibition of MAO-B.
Project description:The 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced parkinsonism model, particularly in non-human primates, remains the gold-standard for studying the pathogenesis and assessing novel therapies for Parkinson's disease. However, whether the loss of dopaminergic neurons in this model is progressive remains controversial, mostly due to the lack of objective in vivo assessment of changes in the integrity of these neurons. In the present study, parkinsonism was induced in cynomolgus monkeys by intravenous administration of MPTP (0.2 mg/kg) for 15 days; stable parkinsonism developed over 90 days, when the symptoms were stable. Noninvasive positron emission tomographic neuroimaging of vesicular monoamine transporter 2 with 9-[(18)F] fluoropropyl-(+)-dihydrotetrabenazine ([(18)F]AV-133) was used before, and 15 and 90 days after the beginning of acute MPTP treatment. The imaging showed evident progressive loss of striatal uptake of [(18)F]AV-133. The dopaminergic denervation severity had a significant linear correlation with the clinical rating scores and the bradykinesia subscores. These findings demonstrated that [(18)F]AV-133 PET imaging is a useful tool to noninvasively evaluate the evolution of monoaminergic terminal loss in a monkey model of MPTP-induced parkinsonism.
Project description:?-Synuclein (?-syn) is a small presynaptic protein distributed ubiquitously in the central and peripheral nervous system. In normal conditions, ?-syn is found in soluble form, while in Parkinson's disease (PD) it may phosphorylate, aggregate, and combine with other proteins to form Lewy bodies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate, in nonhuman primates, whether ?-syn expression is affected by age and neurotoxin challenge. Young adult (<i>n</i> = 5, 5-10 years old) and aged (<i>n</i> = 4, 23-25 years old) rhesus monkeys received a single unilateral carotid artery injection of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). Three months post-MPTP the animals were necropsied by transcardiac perfusion, and their brains extracted and processed with immunohistochemical methods. Quantification of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive substantia nigra (SN) neurons showed a significant 80-89% decrease in the side ipsilateral to MPTP administration in young and old animals. Optical density of TH- immunoreactivity (-ir) in the caudate and putamen presented a 60-70% loss compared with the contralateral side. ?-Syn-ir was present in both ipsi- and contra- lateral MPTP-treated nigra, caudate, and putamen, mostly in fibers; its intracellular distribution was not affected by age. Comparison of ?-syn-ir between MPTP-treated young and aged monkeys revealed significantly higher optical density for both the ipsi- and contralateral caudate and SN in the aged animals. TH and ?-syn immunofluorescence confirmed the loss of nigral TH-ir dopaminergic neurons in the MPTP-treated side of intoxicated animals, but bilateral ?-syn expression. Colabeling of GAD67 and ?-syn immunofluorescence showed that ?-syn expression was present mainly in GABAergic fibers. Our results demonstrate that, 3 months post unilateral intracarotid artery infusion of MPTP, ?-syn expression in the SN is largely present in GABAergic fibers, regardless of age. Bilateral increase of ?-syn expression in SN fibers of aged, compared with young rhesus monkeys, suggests that ?-syn-ir may increase with age, but not after neurotoxin-induced dopaminergic nigral cell loss.
Project description:Current therapies for Parkinson's disease (PD) only offer limited symptomatic alleviation but fail to hamper the progress of the disease. Thus, it is imperative to establish new approaches aiming at protecting or reversing neurodegeneration in PD. Recent work elucidates whether smilagenin (abbreviated SMI), a steroidal sapogenin from traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, can take neuroprotective effect on dopaminergic neurons in a chronic model of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) conjuncted with probenecid mice. We reported for the first time that SMI significantly improved the locomotor ability of chronic MPTP/probenecid-lesioned mice. SMI increased the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) positive and Nissl positive neuron number in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), augmented striatal DA and its metabolites concentration and elevated striatal dopamine transporter density (DAT). In addition, dopamine receptor D2R not D1R was down-regulated by MPTP/probenecid and slightly raised by SMI prevention. What's more, we discovered that SMI markedly elevated striatal glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein levels in SMI prevented mice. And we found that SMI increased GDNF and BDNF mRNA level by promoting CREB phosphorylation in 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridimium (MPP+) treated SH-SY5Y cells. The results illustrated that SMI could prevent the impairment of dopaminergic neurons in chronic MPTP/probenecid-induced mouse model.
Project description:Dopaminergic signaling in the reward pathway in the brain has been shown to play an important role in food intake and the development of obesity. Obese rats release less dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) after food intake, and amphetamine stimulated striatal DA release is reduced <i>in vivo</i> in obese subjects. These studies suggest that DA hypofunction associated with hedonic dysregulation is involved in the pathophysiology of obesity. To identify brain changes in obesity, quantitative measures of DA synaptic markers were compared in postmortem brain tissues of normal weight and obese subjects over a range of increasing body mass indices (BMI). DA transporter (DAT) numbers in the striatum were compared to the relative expression of DAT, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and D2 dopamine receptors (DRD2) in midbrain DA neurons. Radioligand binding assays of [<sup>3</sup>H]WIN35,428 demonstrated that the number of striatal DAT binding sites was inversely correlated with increasing BMI (<i>r</i> = -0.47; <i>p</i> < 0.01). DAT and TH gene expression were significantly decreased in the somatodendritic compartment of obese subjects (<i>p</i> < 0.001), with no significant change in DRD2 compared to normal weight subjects. The reduced density of striatal DAT with corresponding reductions in DAT and TH gene expression in substantia nigra (SN) suggests, that obesity is associated with hypodopaminergic function. A DA reward deficiency syndrome has been suggested to underlie abnormal eating behavior that leads to obesity. Neurobiological changes in presynaptic DA markers demonstrated postmortem in human brain support a link between hedonic DA dysregulation and obesity.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Radiotracer imaging of the presynaptic nigrostriatal dopaminergic system is used to assess disease progression in Parkinson's disease (PD) and may provide a useful adjunct to clinical assessment during therapeutic trials of potential neuroprotective agents. Several clinical trials comparing dopamine agonists to L-DOPA or early vs. late L-DOPA have revealed differences between clinical assessment and imaging of the presynaptic dopaminergic system, hence questioning the comparability of these measures as neuroprotection outcome variables. Thus, results of these studies may have been affected by factors other than the primary biological process investigated. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We tested the possibility that L-DOPA might interfere with DAT binding. Post-mortem DAT binding was conducted in normal and MPTP-treated macaque monkeys that were administered L-DOPA, acutely or chronically. In parallel, DAT SPECT was conducted in MPTP-treated animals that were administered chronic L-DOPA. [99mTc]TRODAT-1 SPECT binding was similarly reduced in all MPTP monkeys regardless of L-DOPA treatment. L-DOPA had no significant effect on post-mortem DAT binding either in saline or in MPTP-lesioned animals. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These data indicate that L-DOPA does not induce modifications of DAT expression detectable by SPECT of by DAT binding autoradiography, suggesting that differences between clinical assessment and radiotracer imaging in clinical trials may not be specifically related to L-DOPA treatment.