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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2016, Article ID 3508073, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/3508073
Research Article

Drosophila Mutant Model of Parkinson’s Disease Revealed an Unexpected Olfactory Performance: Morphofunctional Evidences

1Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
2Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
3Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Section of Plant Protection, University of Florence, Firenze, Italy
4Pinnacle Biomedical Research Institute, Bhopal, India
5Department of Public Health, Clinical and Molecular Medicine, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy

Received 25 May 2016; Revised 2 August 2016; Accepted 4 August 2016

Academic Editor: Jan Aasly

Copyright © 2016 Francescaelena De Rose 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.

Abstract

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases characterized by the clinical triad: tremor, akinesia, and rigidity. Several studies have suggested that PD patients show disturbances in olfaction as one of the earliest, nonspecific nonmotor symptoms of disease onset. We sought to use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism to explore olfactory function in LRRK loss-of-function mutants, which was previously demonstrated to be a useful model for PD. Surprisingly, our results showed that the LRRK mutant, compared to the wild flies, presents a dramatic increase in the amplitude of the electroantennogram responses and this is coupled with a higher number of olfactory sensilla. In spite of the above reported results, the behavioural response to olfactory stimuli in mutant flies is impaired compared to that obtained in wild type flies. Thus, behaviour modifications and morphofunctional changes in the olfaction of LRRK loss-of-function mutants might be used as an index to explore the progression of parkinsonism in this specific model, also with the aim of studying and developing new treatments.