There has been recent interest in the possibility that impaired neurogenesis may contribute to the decline in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease (PD). We have investigated the effects of commonly used treatments for PD on neural stem cell (NSC) activity in nondemented patients. Postmortem of brain tissue containing the subventricular zone (SVZ) and ependymal layer cells was obtained from 32 nondemented patients with PD. NSC activity was assessed by immunohistochemical staining for RNA-binding protein Musashi1. Regression analyses were then used to identify which clinical factors independently influenced NSC activity. Disease duration was negatively associated with SVZ Musashi1 staining, whereas lifetime levodopa was positively associated in this region. Our findings suggest a positive impact of chronic L-dopa use on the number of NSC in the SVZ of PD patients, which may have relevance for future studies on neuroprotection in neurodegenerative diseases.
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