Bastien RIBOT

Rôle du système cholinergique striatal dans la pathophysiologie de la dystonie: un modèle expérimental chez le primate non-humain

septembre 2018 Directeur(s) de thèse : Dominique GUEHL Résumé de thèse

Dystonia is defined as a syndrome of sustained muscular cocontractions leading to repetitive movements and abnormal postures. However, the pathophysiology of dystonia remains poorly understood. Studies in humans emphasize the crucial role of basal ganglia in the pathophysiology of dystonia. Recent data in rodents suggest the involvement of a disorder in the striatal cholinergic transmission. But these genetic or pharmacological rodent models do not always express the phenotype of dystonia. Therefore, it was important to propose a primate study to test whether an increase of cholinergic transmission within the putamen is able to induce a clinical phenotype of dystonia similar to that seen in humans.

To verify our hypothesis, we chronically infused non-selective muscarinic agonist (Oxotremorine) in the sensory-motor striatum in non-human primates. Dystonic clinical symptoms induced by this drug were assessed using the Burke-Fahn-Marsden (BFM) scale adapted to animals. We used electromyographic approach to characterize muscular activity linked to clinical symptoms, and we recorded Multi-Unit and Single-Unit neuronal activity in basal ganglia to establish electro-clinical correlations.

The infusions of Oxotremorine allowed us to observe: (i) abnormal postures and movements similar to the dystonic movements encountered in human pathology; (ii) an abnormally low neuronal firing frequency in the GPi (13.5Hz) and a bursty firing pattern mainly when the symptoms where severe; (iii) oscillatory activity (28-30Hz) within the putamen, GPe and GPi; (iv) the lack of coherence of the oscillatory activity between these structures; (v) that the GPi is the only structure to present a coherence of the oscillatory activity.

We have demonstrated for the first time that a model of chronic dystonia can be obtained in non-human primates by increasing cholinergic tone in the putamen. This work validates the hypothesis of an involvement of cholinergic interneurons and striatal acetylcholine levels in the pathophysiology of dystonia.

 Keywords: Dystonia, Basal Ganglia, Cholinergic System, Non-human Primate, Pharmacology, Electrophysiology.