The drug, 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,5,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), depletes striatal dopamine levels in primates and certain rodents, including mice, and produces parkinsonian-like symptoms in humans and nonhuman primates. To investigate the consequences of grafting adrenal medullary tissue into the brain of a rodent model of Parkinson's disease, a piece of adult mouse adrenal medulla was grafted unilaterally into mouse striatum 1 week after MPTP treatment. This MPTP treatment resulted in the virtual disappearance of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive fibers and severely depleted striatal dopamine levels. At 2, 4, and 6 weeks after grafting, dense tyrosine hydroxylase- immunoreactive fibers were observed in the grafted striatum, while only sparse fibers were seen in the contralateral striatum. In all cases, tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive fibers appeared to be from the host rather than from the grafts, which survived poorly. These observations suggest that, in mice, adrenal medullary grafts exert a neurotrophic action in the host brain to enhance recovery of dopaminergic neurons. This effect may be relevant to the symptomatic recovery in Parkinson's disease patients who have received adrenal medullary grafts.
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