Nigral injection of antisense oligonucleotides to synaptotagmin I using HVJ-liposome vectors causes disruption of dopamine release in the striatum and impaired skill learning
To produce an animal model of a dopa-responsive motor disorder with depletion of dopamine (DA) release in the striatum by dysfunction of the transmitter release machinery of the nigrostriatal DA system, we performed an intra-nigral injection of an HVJ-liposome gene transfer vector containing antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) against synaptotagmin I (SytI), a key regulator of Ca(2+)-dependent exocytosis and endocytosis in adult rats. A unilateral intra-nigral injection of HVJ-liposome vectors containing antisense ODNs against SytI (syt-AS) caused a moderate disruption of methamphetamine-induced release of DA in the treated side of the striatum, while the syt-AS treatment did not affect physiological release of DA in the treated striatum. A bilateral intra-nigral injection of HVJ-liposome vectors containing syt-AS induced an impairment of the striatal DA-mediated acquisition of skilled behavior in a rotarod task without any deficits in general motor functions, such as spontaneous locomotor activity, motor adjusting steps, equilibrium function, or muscle strength. These findings suggest that an intra-nigral treatment with HVJ-liposome vectors containing syt-AS may cause a long-lasting nigral knockdown of SytI which, in turn, leads to a moderate dysfunction of the DA release machinery in the terminals of the nigrostriatal DA system and a subsequent mild depletion of DA release in the striatum.