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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

GDNF increases the density of cells containing calbindin but not of cells containing calretinin in cultured rat and human fetal nigral tissue.

Among the dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta and in the ventral tegmental area, subpopulations express the calcium-binding proteins calbindin ( CB) and calretinin ( CR), and the CB-containing neurons are supposed to be less prone to degeneration in Parkinson's disease. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a potent survival factor for nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. Using free-floating roller-tube (FFRT) cultures derived from fetal rat (E14) ventral mesencephalon we found that GDNF (10 ng/ml) significantly increased the number of surviving tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunoreactive neurons. The possible effects of GDNF treatment on CB-immunoreactive (CB-ir) and CR-ir neurons in such cultures were examined in the present study. The neuronal cell densities were measured by quantifying the numbers of CB-ir and CR-ir neurons in areas of sections through the most extensive parts of the spherical cultures. In 4-day-old and 8-day-old cultures GDNF treatment increased the density of CB-ir neurons by 50% and 59%, respectively. Partial co-existence of TH and CB was shown using the method of double immunolabeling. The density of CR-containing neurons was unaffected by GDNF treatment as confirmed by Western blotting for CR. Parallel effects of GDNF treatment were obtained for cultures of human fetal ventral mesencephalon (8 weeks postconception). In conclusion, our findings identify GDNF as a potent factor for fetal rat and human nigral CB-ir neurons able to promote their survival in culture. Referring to a suggested neuroprotective role of CB, the results may be of relevance in the context of neuronal transplantation of patients suffering from severe Parkinson's disease.[1]


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