For all behaviors observed, the intensity and frequency were quan

For all behaviors observed, the intensity and frequency were quantified simultaneously. The product of the intensity and frequency BTK animal study scores provided a final ‘severity’ score. A detailed description of this rating scale is reported elsewhere (Steece-Collier et al., 2003; Maries et al., 2006). To test whether the low dose of nimodipine (0.8 mg/kg/day) we used in the chronic-release pellets to prevent dendritic spine loss would itself impact levodopa-induced dyskinesias, we examined behavior in a group of parkinsonian rats, distinct from rats used for the chronic nimodipine

pellet studies. In these rats, an acute injection of nimodipine was administered in conjunction with levodopa to determine whether nimodipine had either negative or positive influences

on levodopa-induced dyskinesias in our model. Rats were rendered severely parkinsonian, again without any pellet implants. All drugs were administered on the test day by intraperitoneal learn more injection. Levodopa was administered at one of three doses: 6.0, 8.0 or 12.5 mg/kg. Doses of levodopa were varied to ensure that we were not ‘overwhelming’ any potential ‘nimodipine effect’ with our usual high dose of 12.5 mg/kg levodopa. Dyskinesia severity was analysed 30 min post-levodopa (pre-nimodipine), which was followed by an injection of one of four test doses of nimodipine (0.08, 0.8, 8.0 or 20 mg/kg). Thirty minutes following the nimodipine injection, dyskinesias were rated a second time (post-nimodipine). A 48-h washout was given between drug tests. Test doses of nimodipine were chosen to be 10-fold higher and lower than that used in the chronic-release pellets we used in the current studies (i.e. 0.8 mg/kg). We also examined the same

nimodipine dose as the pellets (0.8 mg/kg), plus a dose of 20 mg/kg, which is a higher dose, similar to that commonly employed in the literature (Finger & Dunnett, 1989). Rats used for dendritic spine density analysis were deeply anesthetized with 5 mL/kg pentobarbital, and killed 20 weeks post-grafting by transcardial perfusion with room temperature 0.9% saline followed by cold 4% paraformaldehyde in 0.1 M PO4 buffer at 4°C. Brains were blocked caudally approximately −3.5 mm behind bregma, and the forebrain block placed in a Golgi–Cox Thymidylate synthase solution (1% mercury chloride, 1% potassium chromate and 1% potassium dichromate in distilled water) and allowed to develop in the dark for 14 days. Brains were then sectioned at a thickness of 100 μm on a vibrating microtome. Sections were placed on 4% gelatin-subbed prepared slides and allowed to dry in a humidified chamber. The slides were then developed in ammonia hydroxide followed by Kodak Polymax fixer, and then dehydrated in a series of alcohol immersions. Finally, slides were cleared in xylene and coverslipped with DPX.

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