Original Research ARTICLE
Front. Aging Neurosci., 11 December 2009 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/neuro.24.003.2009
Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA
Mitochondrial oxidative stress and dysfunction has been implicated as a possible mechanism for the onset and progression of Parkinson-like neurodegeneration. However, long-term mitochondrial defects in chronic animal neurodegenerative models have not been demonstrated. In this study, we investigated the function of striatal mitochondria 6 weeks after the induction of a chronic 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model of Parkinson’s disease (MPD). Although severe depression of mitochondrial respiration was observed immediately after acute administrations of MPTP, we failed to detect a significant mitochondrial inhibition in presence of striatal dopamine (DA) deficit 6 weeks after the chronic MPD induction in young adult mice. In contrast, when aged mice were chronically treated with MPTP and at 6 weeks post-treatment, these animals suffered an inhibition of the basal (state 4) and adenosine 5′-diphosphate-stimulated (state 3) respiration and a fall in adenosine triphosphate level in the striatal mitochondria. The aged chronic MPD also brought about a sustained diminution of striatal anti-oxidant enzyme levels including that of superoxide dismutases and cytochrome c. The mitochondrial deficits in the striatum of aged chronic MPD 6 weeks after treatment were further correlated with significant losses of striatal DA, tyrosine hydroxylase, DA uptake transporter, and with impaired movement when tested on a challenging beam. Our findings suggest that MPTP may trigger the neurodegenerative process by obstructing the mitochondrial function; however, striatal mitochondria in young animals may potentially rejuvenate, whereas mitochondrial dysfunction is sustained in the aged chronic MPD. Therefore, the aged chronic MPD may serve as a suitable investigative model for further elucidating the integral relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegenerative disorder, and for assessing the therapeutic efficacy of mitochondrial protective agents as potential neuroprotective drugs.