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Neurokinin Peptides and Neurokinin Receptors as Potential Therapeutic Intervention Targets of Basal Ganglia in the Prevention and Treatment of Parkinsons Disease

[ Vol. 5 , Issue. 2 ]


L.- W. Chen, K. K.L. Yung and Y S Chan   Pages 197 - 206 ( 10 )


Parkinsons disease (PD) is a serious motor disorder and it is the second most common brain degenerative disease in human. PD is known to be caused by degeneration of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra but the cause of cell death is largely unknown. Mammalian neurokinins [NKs] are a group of neuropeptides that include substance P (SP; neurokinin-1, NK-1), substance K (SK; NK-2; neurokinin A), and neuromedin K (NK; NK-3; neurokinin B). Their biological effects as neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, or neurotrophic-like factors are mediated by three distinct neurokinin receptors, namely SP receptor (SPR: NK-1 receptor, NK-1R), SKR (NK-2R), and NKR (NK-3R). Several lines of evidence have indicated that neurokinins are implicated in the pathogenesis of PD. First, decreases of SP level and SP-immunoreactivity have been found in nigral and striatal tissues of animals with PD and postmortem PD patients. Second, NKs exert neuroprotective effects on neurons. In addition, NK receptors, namely NK-1 and NK-3 receptors, are abundantly localized in dopaminergic and cholinergic neurons of the basal ganglia, indicating that these neurons are under the physiological regulation of NKs. Moreover, modulation in motor activity occurred in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6- tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated mice, PD animal model, after systemic administration of NK receptor agonists. NKs and NK receptors, therefore, might be important molecules that are associated with functions and survival of neurons in the basal ganglia, in particular the dopamine neurons. Further studies should be devoted to elucidate the functional roles of NK systems in (a) the neuropathogenesis and neuroprotection during the course of PD, (b) the efficacy of NK receptor drugs towards PD, and (c) potential therapeutic intervention that targets at the prevention or treatment of PD.


neurokinins, neuroprotection, basal ganglion, dopamine, neurodegeneration, parkinson disease


Institute of Neurosciences, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xian 710032, P. R. China.

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