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Conditional deletion of Ndufs4 in dopaminergic neurons promotes Parkinson’s disease-like non-motor symptoms without loss of dopamine neurons

Abstract : Reduction of mitochondrial complex I activity is one of the major hypotheses for dopaminergic neuron death in Parkinson's disease. However, reduction of complex I activity in all cells or selectively in dopaminergic neurons via conditional deletion of the Ndufs4 gene, a subunit of the mitochondrial complex I, does not cause dopaminergic neuron death or motor impairment. Here, we investigated the effect of reduced complex I activity on non-motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease using conditional knockout (cKO) mice in which Ndufs4 was selectively deleted in dopaminergic neurons (Ndufs4 cKO). This conditional deletion of Ndufs4, which reduces complex I activity in dopamine neurons, did not cause a significant loss of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), and there was no loss of dopaminergic neurites in striatum or amygdala. However, Ndufs4 cKO mice had a reduced amount of dopamine in the brain compared to control mice. Furthermore, even though motor behavior were not affected, Ndufs4 cKO mice showed non-motor symptoms experienced by many Parkinson's disease patients including impaired cognitive function and increased anxiety-like behavior. These data suggest that mitochondrial complex I dysfunction in dopaminergic neurons promotes non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease and reduces dopamine content in the absence of dopamine neuron loss.
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Won-Seok Choi, Hyung-Wook Kim, François Tronche, Richard D. Palmiter, Daniel R. Storm, et al.. Conditional deletion of Ndufs4 in dopaminergic neurons promotes Parkinson’s disease-like non-motor symptoms without loss of dopamine neurons. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7, pp.44989. ⟨10.1038/srep44989⟩. ⟨hal-01509578⟩

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