Clinical Autonomic Research

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 415–425 | Cite as

Cardiac sympathetic innervation in the MPTP non-human primate model of Parkinson disease

  • Mar Carmona-AbellanEmail author
  • Ivan Martínez-Valbuena
  • Carla DiCaudo
  • Irene Marcilla
  • Maria Rosario Luquin
Research Article



Systemic administration of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) induces degeneration of dopaminergic neurons and reproduces the motor features of Parkinson disease (PD); however, the effect of MPTP on extranigral structures has been poorly studied. The aim of this research was to study the cardiac sympathetic innervation of control and MPTP-treated monkeys in order to describe the influence of MPTP toxicity on cardiac tissue.


Eight monkeys were included in the study and divided into two groups, four monkeys serving as controls and four forming the MPTP group. Sections from the anterior left ventricle were immunohistochemically examined to characterize the sympathetic fibers of cardiac tissue. The intensity of immunoreactivity in the nerve fibers was quantitatively analyzed using ImageJ software.


As occurs in PD, the sympathetic peripheral nervous system is affected in MPTP-treated monkeys. The percentage of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive fibers in the entire fascicle area was markedly lower in the MPTP group (24.23%) than the control group (35.27%) (p < 0.05), with preservation of neurofilament immunoreactive fibers in the epicardium of MPTP-treated monkeys. Alpha-synuclein deposits were observed in sections of the anterior left ventricle of MPTP-treated monkeys but not in control animals, whereas phosphorylated synuclein aggregates were not observed in either controls or MPTP-treated monkeys.


The peripheral autonomic system can also be affected by neurotoxins that specifically inhibit mitochondrial complex I.


Cardiac innervation MPTP Animal models Parkinson disease Non-motor symptoms 



This study was partially co-funded by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III through project PI12/01730 from the Spanish Health Research Fund (FIS) and the Association of Friends (ADA) of the University of Navarra (MCA).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflicts of interest to report.

Supplementary material

10286_2019_620_MOESM1_ESM.pzfx (7 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PZFX 7 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurodegenerative Diseases Group, Neurosciences DivisionBiocruces Bizkaia Health Research InstituteBarakaldoSpain
  2. 2.Neurosciences DivisionCenter for Applied Medical Research (CIMA)PamplonaSpain
  3. 3.Idisna HRIPamplonaSpain
  4. 4.Neurology SectionBiomedical CenterGranadaSpain
  5. 5.Neurology DepartmentClinica Universidad de NavarraPamplonaSpain

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