Involvement of monoaminergics systems in Parkinson's disease : behavioral and electrophysiological studies

septembre 2011 Directeur(s) de thèse : Abdelhamid BENAZZOUZ Résumé de thèse

The loss of dopamine (DA) nigro-striatal neurons has been the pathophysiological focus of the devastating conditions of Parkinson’s disease, but depletion of DA alone in animal models has failed to simultaneously elicit both the motor and non-motor deficits of PD. There is growing evidence that additional loss of locus coeruleus noradrenaline (NA) and dorsal raphe serotonin (5-HT) neurons in PD could be involved in the clinical expression of many of the observed deficits but also on the efficiency and on the side effects of antiparkinsonian treatments, L-Dopa and High Frequency Stimulation (HFS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN).

First, we focused on the respective role of DA, NA and 5-HT systems on motor and non-motor deficits and on the pathological activity of three basal ganglia nuclei, STN, substantia nigra pars reticulata and globus pallidus. Results of the present study bring new insights into the combined roles of the three monoaminergic systems in the motor and non motor symptoms of PD and also into the pathological activity of basal ganglia nuclei.

Second, we studied the involvement of DA, NA and 5-HT depletions on the efficiency of L-Dopa and HFS of STN. Our results show that when DA depletion is combined with another monoamine depletion, STN HFS is less efficient compared to the situation when DA is depleted alone. These data provide a clear explanation on the lack of efficacy of this treatment in some operated parkinsonian patients.

Finally, as few studies focused on NAergic modulation of basal ganglia, we studied the effects of NAergic agents locally injected into the STN on motor behavior and also on STN neuronal activity. We show that alpha 1 NAergic receptors are implicated in the modulation of firing rate and that alpha 2 receptors play an important role in the emergence of burst activity, which could be at the origin of motor deficits.

Results of this thesis provide new evidences on the involvement of the three monoaminergic systems in motor and non motor symptoms and also in the efficiency of antiparkinsonian treatments. Moreover, we show that NAergic alpha receptors are implicated in the control of STN neuronal activity and consequently in the motor control.