Role of the lateral habenula in the alteration of synaptic downscaling in levodopa-induced dyskinesia

Research leaders: Dr Galati Salvatore, EOC/NSI, Lugano and Professor Giuseppe Di Giovanni, Malta.

The reasons for the develoment of levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID) pathology are not yet clear. In LID rats, low frequency stimulation of the cortico-striatal synapseic rats does not manifest the physiological depotentiation of cortico-striatal evoked responses . Moreover, NREM sleep EEG slow wave activity (SWA) seems to be involved in the scaling of cortical synaptic strength. We recently demonstrated that the development of LID is linked to an impairment of SWA mechanisms. This implies a sustained retention of dysfunctional synaptic memories within the cortico-cortical and/or cortico-striatal circuitries (Galati et al., 2015).

The lateral part of habenula (LHb) has been recently proposed to have a role in modulation of sleep and LID. On the basis of this experimental evidence, we hypothesize that LHb might be involved in the disturbance of the physiological homeostatic plasticity operated during sleep  and leading to LID. In order to attest our hypothesis we will take advantage of combined electrophysiological and biochemical approach in Parkinsonian rats.

About the International Short Visits of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF): It allows for re-searchers working in Switzerland to go abroad, or for researchers from elsewhere to come to Switzerland. The main aim of this funding instrument, which is open to all fields of research, is to initiate or to consolidate international collaborations.