Author(s): Lee ES, Chen H, Soliman KF, Charlton CG
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Abstract Long-term treatment of levodopa for Parkinson's disease (PD) patients is known to elevate homocysteine level in their plasma. The present study was designed to examine the possible neurotoxic effects of the increased homocysteine level on the dopaminergic system. Homocysteine was administered into Sprague-Dawley male rats intracerebroventricularly or C57BL/6 mice intraperitoneally. Following homocysteine injection the locomotor activities, the levels of dopamine (DA) and its metabolites, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homovanillic acid (HVA), and immunohistochemistry of dopaminergic neurons were examined. The results obtained indicate that homocysteine administration (1 or 2 micromol, i.c.v.) into the rat brains for 5 days significantly decreased the locomotor activities and dopamine as well as its metabolites, DOPAC and HVA, in the rat striatal regions. Two different doses of homocysteine (50 and 100mg/100g, i.p. daily) were administered into mice for 36 days to evaluate the effect of systemic treatment of homocysteine on the dopaminergic neurons of the brain. The intraperitoneal injections of two doses of homocysteine significantly increased homocysteine levels in the striatal regions of mouse brains by 21.5 and 39.2\%, while reducing dopamine turnover rates in the striatal regions by decreasing (DOPAC+HVA)/DA, 23.7 and 51.6\%, respectively. Accordingly, homocysteine decreased locomotor activities significantly by decreasing movement time by 29 and 38\%, total distance by 32 and 42\%, and numbers of movement by 28 and 41\%, respectively. Moreover, homocysteine decreased tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity in substantia nigra of mouse brain. The data obtained indicate that the potential of homocysteine to be toxic to the dopaminergic system. Consequently, long-term levodopa therapy for PD may accelerate the progression of PD, at least in part by elevated homocysteine.
This article was published in Neurotoxicology
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy