An exploratory evaluation of tyrosine hydroxylase inhibition in planaria as a model for parkinsonism

David Prokai, Thinh Nguyen, Kurt Kamrowski, Ashwin Chandra, Tatjana Talamantes, Lewis R. Baxter, Laszlo Prokai

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7 Scopus citations


Planaria are the simplest organisms with bilateral symmetry and a central nervous system (CNS) with cephalization; therefore, they could be useful as model organisms to investigate mechanistic aspects of parkinsonism and to screen potential therapeutic agents. Taking advantage of the organism's anti-tropism towards light, we measured a significantly reduced locomotor velocity in planaria after exposure to 3-iodo-L-tyrosine, an inhibitor of tyrosine hydroxylase that is an enzyme catalyzing the first and rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of catecholamines. A simple semi-automatic assay using videotaped experiments and subsequent evaluation by tracking software was also implemented to increase throughput. The dopaminergic regulation of locomotor velocity was confirmed by bromocriptine, a drug whose mechanisms of action to treat Parkinson's disease is believed to be through the stimulation of nerves that control movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23289-23296
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - 26 Nov 2013


  • Antiparkinsonian agent
  • Bromocriptine
  • Monoiodotyrosine
  • Parkinsonism
  • Planaria
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase


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