Model of MPP+ - induced neurotoxicity in rat dopaminergic neurons

Newsletter # 15



Cellular models

Welcome to our February Newsletter which presents the MPP+- induced neurotoxicity in rat mesencephalic neuron culture as cellular model of Parkinson disease..

MPP+ is the active in-vivo metabolite of MPTP causing selective degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the PD. Similarly to the in-vivo situation, MPP+ induces a selective death of DA in primary cultures of rat mesencephalic neurons. Thus, MPP+ intoxication of mesencephalic neuronal culture appears as a relevant and a cost-effective alternative to the in-vivo experiments for the evaluation of new test compounds with potential beneficial effect on PD.

NEUROFIT is a Contract Research Organisation (CRO) specialising in the evaluation of treatments for peripheral and central nervous system disorders. NEUROFIT offers a long list of in vivo and in vitro validated methods and disease models for drug screening.


  • The neuroprotective effect of test compounds is evaluated for their ability to inhibit the death of DA neurons in cultures. Immuno-staining of tyrosine hydroxylase is used as specific marker of DA neurons.


  • Pictures show primary culture of mesencephalic neurons. In left panel is shown phase contrast photograph and in the right fluorescent microscopy: nucleus are stained in blue and dopaminergic neurons in red.
  • At 1-10 µM of MPP+, the survival of DA neurons is markedly reduced whilst the total survival in the cell culture remains unchanged.


NEUROFIT offers a range of validated in vitro and in vivo screening tests for psychiatry and neurology.

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