Early signs of colonic inflammation, intestinal dysfunction, and olfactory impairments in the rotenone-induced mouse model of Parkinson’s disease

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The factors that trigger the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are unknown. However, it is suggested that environmental factors, such as exposure to pesticides, play an important role, in addition to genetic predisposition and aging. Early signs of PD can appear in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and in the olfactory system, preceding the onset of motor impairments by many years. The present study assessed the effects of oral rotenone administration (30 mg/kg) in inducing GI and olfactory dysfunctions associated with PD in mice. Here we show that rotenone transiently increased myeloperoxidase activity within 24 h of administration. Leucocyte infiltration in the colon, associated with histological damage and disrupted GI motility, were observed following treatment with rotenone for 7 days. Moreover, 7 days of treatment with rotenone disrupted olfactory discrimination in mice without affecting social recognition ability. The presence of specific deficits in olfactory function occurred with a concomitant decrease in tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons and an increase in serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) turnover in the olfactory bulb. These findings suggest that in Swiss mice, exposure to rotenone induces GI and olfactory dysfunction involving immunological and neurotransmitter alterations, similar to early signs of PD. This provides further evidence for the involvement of the gut–brain axis in PD.

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