Previously published reports have suggested that misexpression of alpha-Synuclein in the Drosophila central nervous system causes neurodegeneration and progressive age-dependent locomotor dysfunction similar to pathologic and clinical manifestations of Parkinson's disease. The number of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in these studies was assessed using immunohistochemistry with an anti-tyrosine hydroxylase antibody on sequential paraffin sections of fly brains. In contrast, we do not observe any DA cell loss in alpha-Synuclein expressing fly brains when using whole-mount immunohistochemistry as an assay. Our results suggest that the DA cell loss observed with misexpression of alpha-Synuclein is not fully penetrant under a variety of experimental conditions and that this may complicate interpretation of such experiments.
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