A negative correlation has been found between smoking and Parkinson's disease. There is evidence to suggest that this correlation appears to be associated with a neuroprotective role of nicotine for dopamine neurons at least in relation to mechanical injury. However, 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6,-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) neurotoxicity to dopamine neurons is enhanced by chronic continuous (-)nicotine. More recently, basic fibroblast growth factor has been found to possess neurotrophic activities for many nerve cells including the dopamine cells in vivo and in vitro. Therefore, it is of interest to explore a possible effect of nicotine on basic fibroblast growth factor expression in the ventral midbrain of intact and 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats and how treatment with nicotine can alter the 6-hydroxydopamine-induced injury of the nigral dopamine nerve cells as evaluated by dopamine biochemistry. In the present paper, an analysis of the effects of chronic continuous infusion of (-)nicotine via minipumps was carried out on basic fibroblast growth factor expression in the vental midbrain of the intact male rat and of the 6-hydroxydopamine lesioned rat. A quantitative messenger RNA protection assay analysis was used as well as an immunocytochemical analysis in the substantia nigra. Our findings give evidence that a two-week continuous infusion with (-)nicotine in the intact rat leads to substantial and dose-related (0.03-0.3 mg/kg per h) reductions of basic fibroblast growth factor messenger RNA levels in the ventral midbrain. These changes are not associated with changes in neuronal and glial basic fibroblast growth factor immunoreactivity in this region with the antibodies used. However, a one-week continuous infusion with (-)nicotine (0.125 mg/kg per h) failed to significantly alter the basic fibroblast growth factor messenger RNA levels in the ventral midbrain of solvent and 6-hydroxydopamine-injected rats and thus also the 6-hydroxydopamine-induced increase of basic fibroblast growth factor messenger RNA levels in the ventral midbrain of the lesioned side observed at this time-interval and known to be of astroglial origin [Chadi G. et al. (1994) Neuroscience 61, 891-910]. In agreement, the 6-hydroxydopamine-induced depletion of dopamine in the neostriatum was unaltered by the nicotine treatment (0.125 mg/kg per h). Thus, chronic continuous (-)nicotine treatment may lead to a reduced basic fibroblast growth factor trophic tone in the ventral midbrain of the intact but not of the 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rat neither on the lesioned nor on the unlesioned side of the ventral midbrain. It seems possible that chronic nicotine treatment mainly reduces basic fibroblast growth factor messenger RNA levels of neuronal origin, since the astroglial messenger RNA levels dominate after the 6-hydroxydopamine-induced lesions.
- 3,4-dihydroxy-phenyl acetic acid
- Homovanillic acid
- RNAse protection assay
- Substantia nigra
ASJC Scopus subject areas