Neuropeptide S counteracts 6-OHDA-induced motor deficits in mice

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Neuropeptide S (NPS) is a 20-aminoacid peptide that selectively activates a G-protein coupled receptor named NPSR. Preclinical studies have shown that NPSR activation promotes anxiolysis, hyperlocomotion, arousal and weakfullness. Previous findings suggest that dopamine neurotransmission plays a role in the actions of NPS. Based on the close relationship between dopamine and Parkinson disease (PD) and on the evidence that NPSR are expressed on brain dopaminergic nuclei, the present study investigated the effects of NPS in motor deficits induced by intracerebroventricular (icv) administration of the dopaminergic neurotoxin 6-OHDA in the mouse rotarod test. 6-OHDA injection evoked motor deficits and significantly reduced tyrosine hidroxylase (TH)-positive cells in the substantia nigra (SN) and ventral tegmental area. However, a positive correlation was found only between the motor performance of 6-OHDA-injected mice and the number of TH-positive cells in SN. The systemic administration of l-DOPA + benserazide (25 + 6.25 mg/kg) counteracted 6-OHDA-induced motor deficits in mice. Similar to l-DOPA, the icv injection of NPS (0.1 and 1 nmol) reversed motor deficits evoked by 6-OHDA. In conclusion, NPS attenuated 6-OHDA-induced motor impairments in mice assessed in the rota-rod test. We discussed the beneficial actions of NPS based on a putative facilitation of dopaminergic neurotransmission in the brain. Finally, these findings candidate NPSR agonists as a potential innovative treatment for PD.

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