Neurochemical, histological and behavioral profiling of the acute, sub-acute and chronic MPTP mouse model of Parkinson’s disease

Matteo Santoro* (Corresponding Author), Paola Fadda, Katie J. Clephan, Claire Hull, Peter Teismann, Bettina Platt, Gernot Riedel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a heterogeneous multi-systemic disorder unique to humans characterized by motor and non-motor symptoms. Preclinical experimental models of PD present limitations and inconsistent neurochemical, histological, and behavioral readouts. The 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model of PD is the most common in-vivo screening platform for novel drug therapies; nonetheless, behavioral endpoints yielded amongst laboratories are often discordant and inconclusive. In this study, we characterized neurochemically, histologically, and behaviorally three different MPTP mouse models of PD to identify translational traits reminiscent of PD symptomatology. MPTP was intraperitoneally (i.p.) administered in three different regimens: i) acute - four injections of 20 mg/kg of MPTP every 2 hours; ii) sub-acute – one daily injection of 30 mg/kg of MPTP for 5 consecutive days; and iii) chronic – one daily injection of 4 mg/kg of MPTP for 28 consecutive days. A series of behavioral tests were conducted to assess motor and non-motor behavioral changes including anxiety, endurance, gait, motor deficits, cognitive impairment, circadian rhythm and food consumption. Impairments in balance and gait were confirmed in the chronic and acute models respectively, with the latter showing significant correlation with lesion size. The sub-acute model, by contrast, presented with generalized hyperactivity. Both, motor and non-motor changes were identified in the acute and sub-acute regime where habituation to a novel environment was significantly reduced. Moreover, we report increased water and food intake across all three models. Overall, the acute model displayed the most sever lesion size while across the three models striatal dopamine content (DA) did not correlate with behavioral performance. The present study demonstrates that detection of behavioral changes following MPTP exposure is challenging and does not correlate with the dopaminergic lesion extent.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Early online date3 Oct 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Oct 2022


  • 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine
  • Behavioral Symptoms
  • DAT
  • dopamine transporter
  • Dopamine
  • Dopaminergic Neurons
  • enteric nervous system
  • Gait
  • HPLC
  • Movement Disorder
  • MPTP, Neostriatum
  • Neurochemistry
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Parkinsonism
  • RRID
  • Research Resource Identifier (see
  • Substantia Nigra


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