Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Fall 5-9-2011

Major Department or Program



Leena Knight


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is most commonly associated with dopaminergic neuronal loss in the substantia nigra (SN), but recent evidence suggests that concomitant loss of noradrenergic neurons in the locus coeruleus (LC) also heavily contributes to PD pathology and symptomology. The primary goal of this study was to determine whether focal injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), a neurotoxin to which noradrenergic cells are particularly susceptible, induces sufficient LC damage in mice to be comparable to the Parkinsonian brain (~ 50% loss). Coupling this LC model with injections of MPTP, a neurotoxin that preferentially targets and destroys dopaminergic neurons, allowed us to simulate PD disease progression and to observe the neuroprotective effects of the LC on the SN. In general, this report provides preliminary data in support of utilizing combined 6-OHDA/MPTP injections to model PD pathology in mice and to inform future therapeutic strategies.

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Subject Headings

Parkinson’s disease -- Prevention & control, Dopaminergic neurons, Substantia nigra, Locus coeruleus, Injections, Neurotoxic agents -- Toxicology, Oxidopamine -- 6-hydroxydopamine, Brain -- Diseases, Nervous system - Damage, Enzymes -- Synthesis, Animals -- Testing, Parkinsonian Disorders -- Therapy, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2011 -- Biology Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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