Introduction to: Neurotoxin-based Nonhuman Primate Models of Parkinson's Disease

Zhiming Zhang, Don Marshall Gash

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This chapter provides an overview of the neurotoxin-based nonhuman primate models of Parkinson's disease (PD). Recent studies on PD models have focused on the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). The specific neurotoxic actions of MPTP are produced when it is metabolized by monoamine oxidase B into 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), a complex I mitochondrial neurotoxin with relative specificity for dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra. In species including mice and nonhuman primates where monoamine oxidase B is found in the brain, systemically administered MPTP crosses the blood brain barrier and is converted into MPP+. MPP+ toxicity selectively and robustly lesions the nigrostriatal dopamine system, replicating many features of PD. Administration of MPTP to nonhuman primates invariably targets the nigrostriatal dopamine pathway, primary neural system that degenerates in PD. Some models using MPTP however fail to replicate other key features of PD. The chapter discusses how the neural circuitry affected by MPTP-induced degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopamine system can be mapped and analyzed. The chapter also emphasizes that MPTP models do not replicate the long prodromal period preceding the expression of parkinsonian signs in many patients.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParkinson's Disease
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank our colleagues including Alexander Blandford, Hamed Haghnazar, Eric Forman and Avalon Sandoval for their support in preparing the manuscript. Special thanks go to Dr. Greg A. Gerhardt for his meaningful discussion. This work was supported by NIH RO1 NS050242 (ZM) and NIH center grants NS39783 (GAG) and AG013494 (DMG).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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