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Intrastriatal GDNF gene transfer by inducible lentivirus vectors protects dopaminergic neurons in a rat model of parkinsonism.

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Exp Neurol 2014 Jul;

Authors: Sha-Sha Chen, Chun Yang, Fei Hao, Chen Li, Tao Lu, Li-Ru Zhao, Wei-Ming Duan

Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) has neuroprotective effects on dopaminergic (DA) neurons both in vivo and in vitro. However, substantial evidence has shown that a long-term overexpression of GDNF gene is often associated with side effects. We previously improved tetracycline (Tet)-On lentivirus system carrying human GDNF (hGDNF) gene, and demonstrated that hGDNF gene expression was tightly regulated and functional in vitro. Here we further examined the efficiency and neuroprotection of Tet-On lentivirus-mediated hGDNF gene regulation in neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and a rat model of parkinsonism. The results showed that hGDNF gene expression was tightly regulated in transduced NPCs. Doxycycline (Dox)-induced hGDNF protected DA neurons from 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced toxicity in vitro. Intrastriatal injections of Tet-On lentivirus vectors resulted in dramatically increased levels of hGDNF protein in the striatum of rats with Dox-drinking water, when compared to lentivirus-injected and saline-injected rats with normal drinking water, respectively. In addition, hGDNF protected nigral DA neurons and striatal DA fibers, and attenuated d-amphetamine-induced rotational asymmetry in the 6-OHDA lesioned rats. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that hGDNF gene transfer by Tet-On lentivirus vectors is tightly regulated in rat brain, and Dox-induced hGDNF is functional in neuroprotection of nigral DA neurons in a rat model of parkinsonism.

PMID: 24997241 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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