, Volume 194, Issue 4, pp 517-525
Date: 11 Jul 2007

Spatial deficits in a mouse model of Parkinson disease

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Accumulating evidence in humans demonstrated that visuo-spatial deficits are the most consistently reported cognitive abnormalities in Parkinson disease (PD). These deficits have been generally attributed to cortical dopamine degeneration. However, more recent evidence suggests that dopamine loss in the striatum is responsible for the visuo-spatial abnormalities in PD. Studies based on animal models of PD did not specifically address this question.


Thus, the first goal of this study was to analyze the role of dopamine within the dorsal striatum in spatial memory. We tested bilateral 6-OHDA striatal lesioned CD1 mice in an object–place association spatial task. Furthermore, to see whether the effects were selective for spatial information, we measured how the 6-OHDA-lesioned animals responded to a non-spatial change and learned in the one-trial inhibitory avoidance task.


The results demonstrated that bilateral (approximately 75%) dopamine depletion of the striatum impaired spatial change discrimination. On the contrary, no effect of the lesion was observed on non-spatial novelty detection or on passive avoidance learning.


These results confirm that dopamine depletion is accompanied by cognitive deficits and demonstrate that striatal dopamine dysfunction is sufficient to induce spatial information processing deficits.