Changes in vascularization in substantia nigra pars compacta of monkeys rendered parkinsonian.
The degeneration of nigral dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease is believed to be associated with a glial reaction and inflammatory changes. In turn, local factors may induce changes in vascularization and contribute to neuronal vulnerability. Among these factors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) is released in adults under pathological conditions and is thought to induce angiogenesis. In order to determine whether changes in brain vasculature are observed in the affected brain regions in parkinsonism, we quantitatively analysed the VEGF-expressing cells and blood vessels in the substantia nigra of monkeys rendered parkinsonian by MPTP injection and compared the results with those obtained in control monkeys. Using stereological methods, we observed an increase in the number of VEGF-expressing neurons and an increase of the number of blood vessels and their volume occupying the substantia nigra pars compacta of monkeys rendered parkinsonian by chronic MPTP intoxication. These changes in vascularization may therefore modify the neuronal availability of blood nutrients, blood cells or toxic substances and neuronal susceptibility to parkinsonism.
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