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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2010, Article ID 427810, 10 pages
Research Article

Subtle Cardiovascular Dysfunction in the Unilateral 6-Hydroxydopamine-Lesioned Rat

Department of Pharmacology, Bosch Institute and School of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Received 26 August 2009; Revised 17 November 2009; Accepted 30 December 2009

Academic Editor: Mark Robert Cookson

Copyright © 2010 K. Slack 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.


The present study evaluated whether the unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) model of Parkinson's disease produces autonomic deficits. Autonomic parameters were assessed by implanting a small radiofrequency telemetry device which measured heart rate variability (HRV), diurnal rhythms of heart rate (HR), core body temperature (cBT) and locomotor activity (LA). Rats then received 6-OHDA lesion or sham surgery. 6-OHDA lesioned rats exhibited head and body axis biases, defective sensorimotor function (“disengage” test), and prominent apomorphine rotation (all versus controls). Diurnal rhythm of HR was lower for 6-OHDA lesioned rats ( ) versus controls ( ; ). Whilst HR decreased similarly in both groups during the day, there was a greater decrease in HR for the 6-OHDA lesioned rats at night (by 38 b.p.m. relative to 17 b.p.m. for controls). LA and cBT did not differ between surgery groups. This study indicates the unilateral 6-OHDA model of PD shows subtle signs of cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction.