Parkinson’s disease (PD) experimental models are crucial in the assessment of possible therapies. Nevertheless, even though PD was one of the first neurodegenerative conditions to be modeled, there are limitations such as spontaneous recovery; lack of bilateral damage, which is a PD characteristic; animal intensive care after neurotoxin administration; and ultrastructural and biochemical nonspecific alterations but mostly the neurodegenerative time course observed in humans. In this chapter, we investigated the effects of divalent and trivalent manganese inhalation on rats and mice to obtain a novel PD animal model inducing bilateral and progressive dopaminergic cell death. We found that after 5 or 6 months of inhalation, there was more than 70% decrease in the number of TH-immunopositive neurons, and these alterations are correlated with an evident motor performance deficits manifested as akinesia, postural instability, and action tremor. More interesting is the fact that these alterations were reverted with l-DOPA treatment, implying that the motor alterations are associated with nigrostriatal dopaminergic innervation, postulating new light for the understanding of manganese neurotoxicity as an appropriate PD experimental model. Our results are contributing to the development of a suitable PD animal model, reproducible, sensitive, time-efficient, and readily applicable behavioral tests.
Part of the book: Dopamine