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Caloric Restriction Protects against Lactacystin-Induced Degeneration of Dopamine Neurons Independent of the Ghrelin Receptor.

ABSTRACT

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by a loss of dopamine (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). Caloric restriction (CR) has been shown to exert ghrelin-dependent neuroprotective effects in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrathydropyridine (MPTP)-based animal model for PD. We here investigated whether CR is neuroprotective in the lactacystin (LAC) mouse model for PD, in which proteasome disruption leads to the destruction of the DA neurons of the SNc, and whether this effect is mediated via the ghrelin receptor. Adult male ghrelin receptor wildtype (WT) and knockout (KO) mice were maintained on an ad libitum (AL) diet or on a 30% CR regimen. After 3 weeks, LAC was injected unilaterally into the SNc, and the degree of DA neuron degeneration was evaluated 1 week later. In AL mice, LAC injection significanty reduced the number of DA neurons and striatal DA concentrations. CR protected against DA neuron degeneration following LAC injection. However, no differences were observed between ghrelin receptor WT and KO mice. These results indicate that CR can protect the nigral DA neurons from toxicity related to proteasome disruption; however, the ghrelin receptor is not involved in this effect.