Effects of chronic intraputamenal infusion of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in aged Rhesus monkeys

Navin Maswood, Richard Grondin, Zhiming Zhang, John A. Stanford, Stewart P. Surgener, Don M. Gash, Greg A. Gerhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


In this study, 17-23 year old Rhesus monkeys were used as an early model of Parkinson's disease (PD). Four animals received chronic infusions of GDNF and four received vehicle infusions into the right putamen via programmable pumps for 8 weeks. Weekly videotaping was performed to record general motor performance and a monkey movement analysis panel (mMAP) was used to quantify fine and coarse upper limb motor performance. The GDNF-treated animals showed significant improvements in their overall motor performance in the last 3 weeks of the study compared to controls. Fine motor time of the upper limbs improved significantly in both the GDNF-treated and control animals. After 8 weeks of drug administration, the animals were euthanized and tissue punches were taken from the basal ganglia for measures of dopamine (DA) and DA metabolite levels. In the right putamen, GDNF infusion produced a 217% increase in homovanillic acid (HVA) levels. In addition, DA levels increased by 50% in the right caudate nucleus and there were 122 and 76% increases in 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) levels in the right and left caudate nucleus, respectively. HVA levels were also seen to be increased by 212% in the right caudate nucleus. Finally, changes were seen in the right globus pallidus, with 390 and 171% increases in DA and HVA levels, respectively. These data support the hypothesis that GDNF may be beneficial for the treatment of damaged or degenerating DA neurons in aged monkeys and possibly in aged humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-889
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by USPHS grants AG06434, AG13494 and NS39787, and G. Gerhardt was supported by a Level II Research Scientist Development Award from NIMH (MH01245).


  • Dopamine
  • Growth factors
  • HVA
  • Metabolism
  • Nigrostriatal dopamine pathway
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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