Heparin-binding determinants of GDNF reduce its tissue distribution but are beneficial for the protection of nigral dopaminergic neurons

Marjo Piltonen, Maxim M Bespalov, Dagmar Ervasti, Tero Matilainen, Yulia A Sidorova, Heikki Rauvala, Mart Saarma, Pekka T Männistö

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) protects and repairs dopamine neurons. It binds to GDNF family receptor alpha 1 (GFR alpha 1) and activates receptor tyrosine kinase. Heparan sulphate proteoglycans (HSPGs) also participate in the signalling of GDNF, though binding to HS may hinder the diffusion of infused GDNF We assessed the importance of heparin-binding determinants in the neuroprotective effects of GDNF in the 6-OHDA rat model of Parkinson's disease. We utilized a truncated, non-heparin-binding Delta 38N-GDNF or combined wtGDNF with heparin-binding growth-associated molecule (HB-GAM, pleiotrophin). Tissue diffusion of wtGDNF +/- HB-GAM and Delta 38N-GDNF was also compared. A protective effect against ipsilateral D-amphetamine-induced turning was seen with 10 mu g wtGDNF, 17 mu g HB-GAM + 10 mu g wtGDNF or 10 mu g Delta 38N-GDNF at 8 weeks post lesion. This effect was most pronounced with wtGDNF alone. HB-GAM (17 or 50 mu g) also reduced rotational behaviour, but did not protect dopaminergic cells. Otherwise, the survival of TH-positive cells in the substantia nigra correlated with the behavioural data. Although Delta 38N-GDNF was more widely distributed than wtGDNF (irrespective of its origin), stable in a brain extract, and potent in mitogen-activated kinase assay, it was inferior in vivo. The results imply that GDNF binding to HSs is needed for the optimum neuroprotective effect. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalExperimental Neurology
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)499-506
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fields of Science

    • 311 Basic medicine
    • 118 Biological sciences
    • 515 Psychology

    Cite this