Altered dopaminergic regulation of the dorsal striatum is able to induce tic-like movements in juvenile rats

Abstract

<div><p>Motor tics are sudden, repetitive, involuntary movements representing the hallmark behaviors of the neurodevelopmental disease Tourette’s syndrome (TS). The primary cause of TS remains unclear. The initial observation that dopaminergic antagonists alleviate tics led to the development of a dopaminergic theory of TS etiology which is supported by <i>post mortem</i> and in vivo studies indicating that non-physiological activation of the striatum could generate tics. The striatum controls movement execution through the balanced activity of dopamine receptor D1 and D2-expressing medium spiny neurons of the direct and indirect pathway, respectively. Different neurotransmitters can activate or repress striatal activity and among them, dopamine plays a major role. In this study we introduced a chronic dopaminergic alteration in juvenile rats, in order to modify the delicate balance between direct and indirect pathway. This manipulation was done in the dorsal striatum, that had been associated with tic-like movements generation in animal models. The results were movements resembling tics, which were categorized and scored according to a newly developed rating scale and were reduced by clonidine and riluzole treatment. Finally, <i>post mortem</i> analyses revealed altered RNA expression of dopaminergic receptors D1 and D2, suggesting an imbalanced dopaminergic regulation of medium spiny neuron activity as being causally related to the observed phenotype.</p></div

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