Parkinson’s disease

/Tag:Parkinson’s disease

The Use of Neurocomputational Models as Alternatives to Animal Models in the Development of Electrical Brain Stimulation Treatments

Anne Beuter

Recent publications call for more animal models to be used and more experiments to be performed, in order to better understand the mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders, to improve human health, and to develop new brain stimulation treatments. In response to these calls, some limitations of the current animal models are examined by using Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) in Parkinson’s disease as an illustrative example. Without focusing on the arguments for or against animal experimentation, or on the history of DBS, the present paper argues that given recent technological and theoretical advances, the time has come to consider bioinspired computational modelling as a valid alternative to animal models, in order to design the next generation of human brain stimulation treatments. However, before computational neuroscience is fully integrated in the translational process and used as a substitute for animal models, several obstacles need to be overcome. These obstacles are examined in the context of institutional, financial, technological and behavioural lock-in. Recommendations include encouraging agreement to change long-term habitual practices, explaining what alternative models can achieve, considering economic stakes, simplifying administrative and regulatory constraints, and carefully examining possible conflicts of interest.

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<h3>Alim Louis Benabid, Mahlon Delong & Marwan Hariz

Jarrod Bailey</h3>

Letters re: Bailey, J. (2014). Monkey-based research on human disease: The implications of genetic differences. ATLA 42, 287–317.
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The Use of Organotypic Hippocampal Slice Cultures to Evaluate Protection by Non-competitive NMDA Receptor Antagonists Against Excitotoxicity

Avi Ring, Rita Tanso and Jens Noraberg

There is great interest in testing neuroprotectants which inhibit the neurodegeneration that results from excessive activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. As an alternative to in vivo testing in animal models, we demonstrate here the use of a complex in vitro model to compare the efficacy and toxicity of NMDA receptor inhibitors. Organotypic hippocampal slice cultures were used to compare the effectiveness of the Alzheimer’s disease drug, memantine, the Parkinson’s disease drug, procyclidine, and the novel neuroprotectant, gacyclidine (GK11), against NMDA-induced toxicity. All three drugs are non-competitive NMDA receptor open-channel blockers that inhibit excitotoxic injury, and their neuroprotective capacities have been extensively investigated in vivo in animal models. They have also been evaluated as potential countermeasure agents against organophosphate poisoning. Quantitative densitometric image analysis of propidium iodide uptake in hippocampal regions CA1, CA3 and DG, showed that, after exposure to 10μM NMDA for 24 hours, GK11 was the most potent of the three drugs, with an IC50 of about 50nM and complete protection at 250nM. When applied at high doses, GK11 was still the more potent neuroprotectant, and also the least cytotoxic. These findings are consistent with those from in vivo tests in rodents. We conclude that the slice culture model provides valuable pre-clinical data, and that applying the model to the screening of neuroprotectants might significantly limit the use of in vivo tests in animals
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