Differential behavioral and glial responses induced by dopaminergic mechanisms in the iNOS knockout mice

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The interaction between distinctive nitric oxide synthase (NOS) isoforms and the dopamine system provides new avenues to the development of pharmacological tools for the pathophysiological conditions of the dopaminergic system. Our aim was to investigate the influences of dopamine-induced effects in inducible NOS knockout (iNOS KO) mice. In order to characterize iNOS KO mice phenotype, the animals were submitted to the basal analyses of motor, sensorimotor and sensorial abilities. Pharmacological challenging of the dopaminergic system included the investigation of amphetamine-induced prepulse inhibition (PPI) disruption, haloperidol-induced catalepsy, reserpine-induced oral involuntary movements and hyperlocomotion induced by amphetamine in reserpine treated mice. The iNOS KO mice showed significant reduction of spontaneous motor activity, but there was no significant difference in sensorimotor or sensorial responses of iNOS KO mice compared to wild type (WT). Regarding the dopaminergic system, iNOS KO mice showed a significant increase of haloperidol-induced catalepsy. This effect was confirmed through an iNOS pharmacological inhibitor (1400W) in WT mice. In addition, iNOS KO reserpine treated mice showed reduced oral involuntary movements and amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion. Knowing that iNOS is mainly expressed in glial cells we analyzed the immunoreactivity (ir) for GFAP (astrocyte marker) and IBA-1 (microglial marker) in the striatum, an area enrolled in motor planning among other functions. iNOS KO presented reduced GFAP-ir and IBA-1-ir compared with WT. Reserpine treatment increased GFAP-ir in both WT and iNOS KO. However, these effects were slighter in iNOS KO. Activated state of microglia was increased by reserpine only in WT mice. Our results further demonstrated that the absence of iNOS interfered with dopamine-mediated behavioral and molecular responses. These results increase the understanding of the dopamine and NO system interaction, which is useful for the management of the dopamine-related pathologies.

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