Afférences cholinergiques au noyau sous-thalamique et leur altération dans la maladie de Parkinson
|Advisor:||Parent, Martin; Proulx, Christophe|
|Abstract:||The basal ganglia (BG) – a set of subcortical structures lying at the basis of the cerebral hemispheres – are known to play a crucial role in the control of psychomotor functions. A single neurochemical imbalance in one of the components of the BG can induce severe motor disabilities that range from hyperkinesia to hypokinesia. One of the most frequently encountered syndromes associated with BG malfunction is Parkinson’s disease (PD). The pathological hallmark of PD, clinically characterized by tremor, bradykinesia and rigidity, is the death of the dopaminergic (DA) neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). However, the marked reduction of the DA neurons does not, by itself, explain the entire symptomatic spectrum experienced by the patients. In fact, the main pharmacological treatment of PD, which is based on the administration of L-dopa, the metabolic precursor of DA, to restore the endogenous DA store, does not alleviate all symptoms of this neurodegenerative disease, postural instabilities being particularly resistant to L-dopa therapy. Recently, numerous anatomical and electrophysiological studies have revealed that acetylcholine (ACh) might also be involved in the pathogenesis of this neurodegenerative disorder. Of particular significance was the report of a loss of the ACh neurons contained in the peduculopontine nucleus, an upper brainstem nucleus that projects massively to the thalamus, but also to the subthalamic nucleus (STN), a key component of the BG that is markedly dysregulated in PD. These findings led us to analyze post-mortem brain tissue collected from normal individuals and PD patients in order to determine quantitatively the strength of the ACh innervation in the STN in normal and pathological conditions. Unbiased estimations of the number of ACh axonal varicosities in the different sectors of the STN were gathered by applying stereological methods to material immunostained for an ACh marker. Our results have provided a first direct evidence for a significant reduction of the ACh neurotransmission in the STN of parkinsonian patients, a decrease that is evident in all regions of the STN. These findings suggest that the ACh input plays an important role in the normal functioning of the STN and that it might even be involved in the induction of the abnormal neuronal activity that characterizes this nucleus in PD.|
|Document Type:||Mémoire de maîtrise|
|Open Access Date:||18 March 2019|
|Collection:||Thèses et mémoires|
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