Some features of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) in the mouse
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The discovery that a rather simple chemical substance can produce such a highly selective neuronal degeneration in the substantia nigra, the brain area most affected in Parkinson’s disease, has resulted in a vast amount of research with MPTP. We and others have hoped that by gaining an understanding of its mechanism of action, we might come closer to discovering the cause(s) of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Indeed, we have learned some fascinating things regarding the roles of monoamine oxidase B and the dopamine transport system in mediating the actions of MPTP. It is clear that the MPTP-treated mouse is a good model for Parkinson’s disease. As such, it may help to define the role of dopamine deficiency in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease as well as provide a model in which potential anti-Parkinsonian therapeutic agents can be tested.
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