RET expression does not change with age in the substantia nigra pars compacta of rhesus monkeys

Biplob Dass, Theodora Kladis, Yaping Chu, Jeffrey H. Kordower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Parkinson's disease is characterized by bradykinesia, rigidity and a resting tremor and the underlying basis for those symptoms is the loss of dopaminergic cells in the nigrostriatal system. Similar to PD, an age-related decrease locomotor activity and the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity has been observed in rhesus monkeys, but the reason for this decrease in dopaminergic function remains to be elucidated. Trophic factors such as glial cell line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and neurturin sustain the dopaminergic phenotype in midbrain neurons and act through a common receptor tyrosine kinase (RET). Examination of RET expression by immunohistochemistry was performed on sections of tissue containing the substantia nigra pars compacta of young, middle, and old aged rhesus monkeys. Stereological estimates of the number and cellular area of RET-immunoreactive cells found no change with age. Estimation of changes in RET protein using fluorescence intensity measurement was also similar across age groups. The results indicate that the mechanisms of GDNF and neurturin signaling remain intact with age, and therefore these trophic factors may be able to enhance the dopaminergic function of neurons in the nigrostriatal system, when administered to individuals of any age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-861
Number of pages5
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Dopamine
  • GDNF
  • Neurturin
  • Parkinson's disease
  • RET
  • Substantia nigra
  • Trophic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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