Inhibition of Rho-kinase by Fasudil protects dopamine neurons and attenuates inflammatory response in an intranasal lipopolysaccharide-mediated Parkinson's model

Qing He, Yan-hua Li, Si-si Guo, Ying Wang, Wei Lin, Qiong Zhang, Jian Wang, Cun-gen Ma, Bao-Guo Xiao
European Journal of Neuroscience 2016, 43 (1): 41-52
Microglia activation and inflammatory factors in brain microenvironment are associated with degeneration of neurons in the substantia nigra (SN) of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and various PD models. There is increasing evidence that the Rho/ROCK (Rho kinase) signalling pathway may play a critical role in the inflammatory response, and ROCK inhibitor has been reported to have neuroprotective effects. In this study, we examined the neuroprotective potential and possible mechanism of ROCK inhibitor Fasudil in an intranasal lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced PD model. ROCK was activated with LPS stimulation and inhibited by Fasudil treatment in this PD model. Behavioural tests demonstrated a clear improvement in motor performance after Fasudil treatment. Furthermore, Fasudil resulted in a significant attenuation of dopamine cell loss, α-synuclein accumulation and inflammatory response with the reversion of inflammatory M1 to anti-inflammatory M2 microglia, decreased NF-кB activation, and IL-12 and TNF-α generation in the SN and olfactory bulb in this model. This study establishes a role for Fasudil in protecting against LPS-mediated dopamine degeneration and provides a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of PD.

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