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Contribution of serotonergic transmission to the motor and cognitive effects of high-frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus or levodopa in Parkinson's disease

, : Contribution of serotonergic transmission to the motor and cognitive effects of high-frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus or levodopa in Parkinson's disease. Molecular Neurobiology 45(1): 173-185

Although they are effective at treating the motor impairments that are the core symptoms of Parkinson s disease, current treatments, namely l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (l-DOPA), the gold standard medication and high-frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (HFS-STN), can lead to cognitive and mood alterations. Many of these side effects, such as depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances, could be related to abnormal functioning of the serotonergic system, but much basic research remains to be done. Molecular studies in humans and animal models of the disease have reported diverse drastic changes to the serotonergic system. It has also been shown that the serotonergic system both plays a major role in the mechanism of action of the current therapies and is altered by the therapies. It has been reported that HFS-STN decreases serotonin release in several regions, mostly via inhibition of serotonergic neuron activity. The involvement of serotonergic neurons in l-DOPA treatment is even more significant. First, serotonergic neurons, able to convert exogenous l-DOPA to dopamine, are a major site to release dopamine throughout the brain. Second, the substitution of serotonin by newly synthesized dopamine in serotonin neurons leads to acute and chronic alteration of serotonin release and metabolism. Therefore, both therapeutic approaches, via distinct mechanisms, decrease serotonergic system activity and, rather than alleviating cognitive or mood disorders, tend to aggravate them. Molecular strategies targeting the serotonergic system are being developed and could be decisive in limiting l-DOPA-induced dyskinesia, as well as mood and cognitive symptoms produced by antiparkinsonian therapies.


PMID: 22222679

DOI: 10.1007/s12035-011-8230-0

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