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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 519184, 7 pages
Research Article

Direct Evaluation of L-DOPA Actions on Neuronal Activity of Parkinsonian Tissue In Vitro

División de Neurociencias, Instituto de Fisiología Celular, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), 04510 México City, DF, Mexico

Received 17 June 2013; Accepted 18 August 2013

Academic Editor: Olivier Darbin

Copyright © 2013 Víctor Plata et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Physiological and biochemical experiments in vivo and in vitro have explored striatal receptor signaling and neuronal excitability to posit pathophysiological models of Parkinson's disease. However, when therapeutic approaches, such as dopamine agonists, need to be evaluated, behavioral tests using animal models of Parkinson's disease are employed. To our knowledge, recordings of population neuronal activity in vitro to assess anti-Parkinsonian drugs and the correlation of circuit dynamics with disease state have only recently been attempted. We have shown that Parkinsonian pathological activity of neuronal striatal circuits can be characterized in in vitro cerebral tissue. Here, we show that calcium imaging techniques, capable of recording dozens of neurons simultaneously with single-cell resolution, can be extended to assess the action of therapeutic drugs. We used L-DOPA as a prototypical anti-Parkinsonian drug to show the efficiency of this proposed bioassay. In a rodent model of early Parkinson's disease, Parkinsonian neuronal activity can be returned to control levels by the bath addition of L-DOPA in a reversible way. This result raises the possibility to use calcium imaging techniques to measure, quantitatively, the actions of anti-Parkinsonian drugs over time and to obtain correlations with disease evolution and behavior.