Nurr1 is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily and is a potential susceptibility gene for Parkinson’s
disease (PD). Several lines of studies in vitro and in vivo reported that defects in the Nurr1 gene cause nigrostriatal
neuronal deficiency as seen in PD. In the present study, we used a a synthetic low molecular weight Nurr1 activator which
increases the transcription of Nurr1 to investigate whether it has anti-parkinsonian effects against nigrostriatal neuronal
degeneration induced by proteasome inhibitor lactacystin. Adult C57BL/6 mice were treated orally with the Nurr1
activator and an inactive structural analog as a control at a dose of 10mg/kg per day, starting 3 days before microinjection
of proteasome inhibitor lactacystin into the medial forebrain bundle and the treatment continued for a total of 4 weeks.
Animal behavior tests, and pathological and biochemical examinations were performed to determine the anti-parkinsonian
effects of the Nurr1 activator. We found that treatment with the Nurr1 activator significantly improved rotarod
performance, attenuated dopamine neuron loss and nigrostriatal dopamine reduction, increased expression of Nurr1,
dopamine transporter and vesicular monoamine transporter 2, and alleviated microglial activation in the substantia nigra
of lactacystin-lesioned mice. These results suggest that the Nurr1 activator may become an innovative strategy for the
treatment of PD.
Keywords: Lactacystin; Inflammation; Neuroprotection; Nurr1 gene activator; Parkinson’s disease; ubiquitin-proteasome
system, Dopamine, Dopamine transporter, 4-dihydroxy-phenylacetic acid, RT-PCR,
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