Publication date: Sep 01, 2023
Increasing evidence suggests that the gut-brain axis plays a crucial role in Parkinson’s disease (PD). The abnormal accumulation of aggregated alpha-synuclein (aSyn) in the brain is a key pathological feature of PD. Intracerebral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) is a widely used dopaminergic lesion model of PD. It exerts no aSyn pathology in the brain, but changes in the gut have not been assessed. Here, 6-OHDA was administered unilaterally either to the rat medial forebrain bundle (MFB) or striatum. Increased levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein in the ileum and colon were detected at 5 weeks postlesion. 6-OHDA decreased the Zonula occludens protein 1 barrier integrity score, suggesting increased colonic permeability. The total aSyn and Ser129 phosphorylated aSyn levels were elevated in the colon after the MFB lesion. Both lesions generally increased the total aSyn, pS129 aSyn, and ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 (Iba1) levels in the lesioned striatum. In conclusion, 6-OHDA-induced nigrostriatal dopaminergic damage leads to increased aSyn levels and glial cell activation particularly in the colon, suggesting that the gut-brain axis interactions in PD are bidirectional and the detrimental process may start in the brain.