Optogenetic Dissection of Brain Circuits Causing Levodopa-Induced Dyskinesia

2015 Seed Grant
Alexandra Nelson, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco

Patients with Parkinson’s Disease eventually develop complications of the main medical therapy¬†available, levodopa, or L-dopa. These complications include disabling involuntary movements triggered by levodopa. We do not know why these complications develop, nor do we have good medications to manage them. We propose to study Parkinsonian mice treated with levodopa (who develop involuntary movements similar to those of humans) to identify the parts of the brain which cause the problem. By using new optical techniques that allow us to turn on or off specific classes of nerve cells within the brain, including those which we believe cause involuntary movements, we can determine which classes are responsible. We hope this will help find new targets for drug treatments for this disabling complication of Parkinson’s Disease