Differential induction of dyskinesia and neuroinflammation by pulsatile versus continuous L-DOPA delivery in the 6-OHDA model of Parkinson's disease

Giovanna Mulas, Elena Espa, Sandro Fenu, Saturnino Spiga, Giovanni Cossu, Elisabetta Pillai, Ezio Carboni, Gabriella Simbula, Dragana Jadžić, Fabrizio Angius, Stefano Spolittu, Barbara Batetta, Daniela Lecca, Andrea Giuffrida, Anna R. Carta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Neuroinflammation is associated with L-DOPA treatment in Parkinson's disease (PD), suggesting a role in L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia (LID), however it is unclear whether increased inflammation is specifically related to the dyskinetic outcome of L-DOPA treatment. Diversely from oral L-DOPA, continuous intrajejunal L-DOPA infusion is associated with very low dyskinetic outcome in PD patients. We reproduced these regimens of administration in 6-OHDA-lesioned hemiparkinsonian rats, where dyskinetic responses and striatal neuroinflammation induced by chronic pulsatile (DOPAp) or continuous (DOPAc) L-DOPA were compared. Moreover, we investigated the contribution of a peripheral inflammatory challenge with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), to DOPAp-induced dyskinetic and neuroinflammatory responses. Rats 6-OHDA-infused in the medial forebrain bundle received two weeks treatment with DOPAp, DOPAc via subcutaneous osmotic minipumps, or DOPAp followed by DOPAc. L-DOPA plasma levels were measured in all experimental groups. An independent group of rats received one peripheral dose of LPS 24 h before DOPAp treatment. Abnormal involuntary movements (AIMs) were evaluated as a rat model of LID. Immunoreactivity (IR) for OX-42, microglial and neuronal TNF-α, iNOS and GFAP was quantified in denervated and contralateral striatum. In addition, serum TNF-α was measured. The 6-OHDA denervation induced a mild microgliosis in the striatum two weeks after neurotoxin infusion, and increased TNF-α IR in microglia. Rats receiving the DOPAp treatment developed AIMs and displayed increased striatal OX-42, microglial TNF-α, iNOS and GFAP. Moreover, TNF-α IR was also increased in a subpopulation of striatal neurons. Conversely, DOPAc did not induce AIMs or inflammatory responses in either drug-naïve animals or rats that were previously dyskinetic when exposed to DOPAp. Serum TNF-α was not altered by any L-DOPA treatment. LPS pre-treatment increased the degree of DOPAp-induced AIMs and striatal IR for OX-42, TNF-α, iNOS and GFAP. Altogether the present findings indicate that in the 6-OHDA model, chronic L-DOPA induces striatal inflammatory responses, which however depend upon the administration regimen and the dyskinetic outcome of drug treatment. The potentiation of dyskinetic responses by LPS suggests a reciprocal causal link between neuroinflammation and LID.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Neurology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Cytokine
  • Dyskinesia
  • Inflammation
  • L-DOPA
  • Microglia
  • Parkinson
  • TNF-alpha

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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