Non-invasive neurochemical analysis of focal excitotoxic lesions in models of neurodegenerative illness using spectroscopic imaging
Parkinson Disease, Secondary
Water-suppressed chemical shift magnetic resonance imaging was used to detect neurochemical alterations in vivo in neurotoxin-induced rat models of Huntington's and Parkinson's disease. The toxins were: N-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), aminooxyacetic acid (AOAA), 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP), malonate, and azide. Local or systemic injection of these compounds caused secondary excitotoxic lesions by selective inhibition of mitochondrial respiration that gave rise to elevated lactate concentrations in the striatum. In addition, decreased N-acetylaspartate (NAA) concentrations were noted at the lesion site over time. Measurements of lactate washout kinetics demonstrated that t1/2 followed the order: 3-NP approximately MPP+ > AOAA approximately malonate, which parallels the expected lifetimes of the neurotoxins based on their mechanisms of action. Further increases in lactate were also caused by intravenous infusion of glucose. At least part of the excitotoxicity is mediated through indirect glutamate pathways because lactate production and lesion size were diminished using unilateral decortectomies (blockade of glutamatergic input) or glutamate antagonists (MK-801). Lesion size and lactate were also diminished by energy repletion with ubiquinone and nicotinamide. Lactate measurements determined by magnetic resonance agreed with biochemical measurements made using freeze clamp techniques. Lesion size as measured with MR, although larger by 30%, agreed well with lesion size determined histologically. These experiments provide evidence for impairment of intracellular energy metabolism leading to indirect excitotoxicity for all the compounds mentioned before and demonstrate the feasibility of small-volume metabolite imaging for in vivo neurochemical analysis.