Striatal Nurr1 Facilitates the Dyskinetic State and Exacerbates Levodopa-Induced Dyskinesia in a Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease

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The transcription factor Nurr1 has been identified to be ectopically induced in the striatum of rodents expressing l-DOPA-induced dyskinesia (LID). In the present study, we sought to characterize Nurr1 as a causative factor in LID expression. We used rAAV2/5 to overexpress Nurr1 or GFP in the parkinsonian striatum of LID-resistant Lewis or LID-prone Fischer-344 (F344) male rats. In a second cohort, rats received the Nurr1 agonist amodiaquine (AQ) together with l-DOPA or ropinirole. All rats received a chronic DA agonist and were evaluated for LID severity. Finally, we performed single-unit recordings and dendritic spine analyses on striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) in drug-naïve rAAV-injected male parkinsonian rats. rAAV-GFP injected LID-resistant hemi-parkinsonian Lewis rats displayed mild LID and no induction of striatal Nurr1 despite receiving a high dose of l-DOPA. However, Lewis rats overexpressing Nurr1 developed severe LID. Nurr1 agonism with AQ exacerbated LID in F344 rats. We additionally determined that in l-DOPA-naïve rats striatal rAAV-Nurr1 overexpression (1) increased cortically-evoked firing in a subpopulation of identified striatonigral MSNs, and (2) altered spine density and thin-spine morphology on striatal MSNs; both phenomena mimicking changes seen in dyskinetic rats. Finally, we provide postmortem evidence of Nurr1 expression in striatal neurons of l-DOPA-treated PD patients. Our data demonstrate that ectopic induction of striatal Nurr1 is capable of inducing LID behavior and associated neuropathology, even in resistant subjects. These data support a direct role of Nurr1 in aberrant neuronal plasticity and LID induction, providing a potential novel target for therapeutic development. The transcription factor Nurr1 is ectopically induced in striatal neurons of rats exhibiting levodopa-induced dyskinesia [LID; a side-effect to dopamine replacement strategies in Parkinson's disease (PD)]. Here we asked whether Nurr1 is causing LID. Indeed, rAAV-mediated expression of Nurr1 in striatal neurons was sufficient to overcome LID-resistance, and Nurr1 agonism exacerbated LID severity in dyskinetic rats. Moreover, we found that expression of Nurr1 in l-DOPA naïve hemi-parkinsonian rats resulted in the formation of morphologic and electrophysiological signatures of maladaptive neuronal plasticity; a phenomenon associated with LID. Finally, we determined that ectopic Nurr1 expression can be found in the putamen of l-DOPA-treated PD patients. These data suggest that striatal Nurr1 is an important mediator of the formation of LID.


Parkinson's disease, dopamine, levodopa induced dyskinesia, nurr1, plasticity

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Aged; Animals; Corpus Striatum (drug effects, metabolism); Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced (metabolism, pathology); Female; Humans; Levodopa (toxicity); Male; Nuclear Receptor Subfamily 4, Group A, Member 2 (biosynthesis); Oxidopamine (toxicity); Parkinsonian Disorders (chemically induced, metabolism, pathology); Rats; Rats, Inbred F344; Rats, Inbred Lew; Rats, Sprague-Dawley

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The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience







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