Title

Pharmacological and Neurochemical Regulation of a Rodent Model of Parkinsonian Tremor

Date of Completion

January 2011

Keywords

Biology, Neuroscience|Psychology, Physiological

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Idiopathic Parkinson's disease, currently the second most common neurodegenerative disease, is just one member of the broader family of motor disorders known as parkinsonism. Parkinsonism is characterized clinically by four major symptoms: bradykinesia, akinesia, rigidity, and tremor. Of these, resting tremor is often considered to be the cardinal symptom of parkinsonism. Despite its prevalence, however, little is known about the pathophysiology of parkinsonian tremor or the complex neurochemical cascade that underlies the generation and maintenance of this motor symptom. Therefore, the central aim of this research was to characterize the neurochemical changes associated with the induction of parkinsonian tremor using the extensively validated tremulous jaw movement (TJM) model. The TJM model was used to investigate aspects of the complex neurochemical cascade thought to underlie the generation of parkinsonian tremor, with a special emphasis on the role of the cholinergic system in tremor development. Additionally, the TJM model was used to test several novel therapeutic strategies, both surgical and pharmacological, for the treatment of parkinsonian resting tremor. Taken together, the findings of the present studies provide further validation of the tremulous jaw movement model. Additionally, they offer a greater understanding of the complex neurochemical conditions that regulate the generation of parkinsonian tremor. It is hoped that this research may lead to the development of more targeted and effective treatments, thereby leading to increases in quality of life for the millions of patients currently suffering from parkinsonism. ^