Sleep complaints are an early clinical symptom of neurodegenerative disorders. Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) experience sleep disruption (SD). The objective of this study was to determine if preexisting, chronic SD leads to a greater loss of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) within the striatum and the substantia nigra following chronic/progressive exposure with the neurotoxin, 1-methyl-2-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). Male mice underwent chronic SD for 4 weeks, then injected with vehicle (VEH) or increasing doses of MPTP for 4 weeks. There was a significant decrease in the plasma corticosterone levels in the MPTP group, an increase in the SD group, and a return to the VEH levels in the SD+MPTP group. Protein expression levels for TH in the striatum (terminals) and substantia nigra pars compacta (dopamine [DA] cell counts) revealed up to a 78% and 38% decrease, respectively, in the MPTP and SD+MPTP groups compared to their relevant VEH and SD groups. DA transporter protein expression increased in the striatum in the MPTP versus VEH group and in the SN/midbrain between the SD+MPTP and the VEH group. There was a main effect of MPTP on various gait measures (e.g., braking) relative to the SD or VEH groups. In the SD+MPTP group, there were no differences compared to the VEH group. Thus, SD, prior to administration of MPTP, has effects on serum corticosterone and gait but more importantly does not potentiate greater loss of TH within the nigrostriatal pathway compared to the MPTP group, suggesting that in PD patients with SD, there is no exacerbation of the DA cell loss.
- dopamine transporter
- substantia nigra pars compacta
- tyrosine hydroxylase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience