Matthews RT, Beal MF, Fallon J, Fedorchak K, Huang PL, Fishman MC, Hyman BT. 1997. MPP+ induced substantia nigra degeneration is attenuated in nNOS knockout mice. Neurobiology of disease. 4(2):114-21. Pubmed: 9331901


Recent studies showed that neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) plays a role in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine neurotoxicity. In the present study we examined the effects of striatal injection of 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+) on substantia nigra degeneration in mutant mice lacking the nNOS gene or the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) gene. Both striatal lesion volume and substantia nigra degeneration were significantly attenuated in the nNOS mutant mice but not in the eNOS mutant mice. The mice lacking nNOS showed a significant attenuation of MPP+(-) induced increases of 3-nitrotyrosine concentrations in the striatum. In a separate experiment administration of 7-nitroindazole for 48 h after MPP+ injections significantly attenuated substantia nigra degeneration in rats. Immunohistochemical studies showed apposition of nNOS-positive neuronal processes on tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons. These results provide further evidence that neuronally derived NO and peroxynitrite play a role in MPP+ neurotoxicity.

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Photo of Mark C. Fishman

Mark C. Fishman’s group studies the heart-brain connection. They employ a range of genetic, developmental, and neurobiological tools in zebrafish to understand what the heart tells the brain, and how critical internal sensory systems adjust homeostatic and somatic behaviors, including social interactions.

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