Evaluation of microglia in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease primed with L-DOPA after sub-anesthetic ketamine treatment

Ayumi E. Pottenger, Mitchell J. Bartlett, Scott J. Sherman, Torsten Falk, Helena W. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by the death of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), characterized by motor dysfunction. While PD symptoms are well treated with L-DOPA, continuous use can cause L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia (LID). We have previously demonstrated that sub-anesthetic ketamine attenuated LID development in rodents, measured by abnormal involuntary movements (AIMs), and reduced the density of maladaptive striatal dendritic mushroom spines. Microglia may play a role by phagocytosing maladaptive neuronal spines. In this exploratory study, we hypothesized that ketamine would prevent AIMs and change microglia ramified morphology – an indicator of a microglia response. Unilaterally 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-lesioned rats were primed with daily injections of L-DOPA for 14 days, treated on days 0 and 7 for 10-hours with sub-anesthetic ketamine (i.p.), and we replicated that this attenuated LID development. We further extended our prior work by showing that while ketamine treatment did lead to an increase of striatal interleukin-6 in dyskinetic rats, indicating a modulation of an inflammatory response, it did not change microglia number or morphology in the dyskinetic striatum. Yet an increase of CD68 in the SNpc of 6-OHDA-lesioned hemispheres post-ketamine indicates increased microglia phagocytosis suggestive of a lingering microglial response to 6-OHDA injury in the SNpc pointing to possible anti-inflammatory action in the PD model in addition to anti-dyskinetic action. In conclusion, we provide further support for sub-anesthetic ketamine treatment of LID. The mechanisms of action for ketamine, specifically related to inflammation and microglia phagocytic functions, are emerging, and require further examination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number136251
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - Nov 20 2021


  • Basal ganglia
  • Dendritic spines
  • Inflammation
  • Interleukin-6
  • Levodopa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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