Xenon is an anesthetic gas known to have an excellent safety profile. Recent research suggests that xenon administered at subanesthetic concentrations is neuroprotective in acute brain injuries including traumatic brain injury, ischemic stroke, and birth asphyxia. Xenon’s neuroprotective effects in those disorders appear to be mediated by mechanisms that also may confer neuroprotection in Parkinson’s disease, including glutamate receptor antagonism. Accordingly, we aim to test whether xenon is neuroprotective in a pre-clinical Parkinson’s model.
Both Parkinsonian and non-Parkinsonian (or control) pre-clinical models will be exposed to either air or air infused with xenon gas for four weeks, after which time they will undergo behavioral testing. Also, dopamine cells will be counted, allowing us to determine whether xenon blunts dopamine terminal and cell body losses.
Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:
Because xenon has few side effects, and it appears to have several characteristics that may make it a good agent to slow or prevent Parkinson’s neurodegeneration, positive findings in this study could lead to rapid development of xenon as a novel treatment. Xenon may have the capacity to improve quality of life and extend life spans of Parkinson’s patients.
We expect to determine whether or not xenon is effective at reducing or preventing neurodegeneration in a pre-clinical model of Parkinson’s disease. A positive outcome in this study would support further development of xenon as a therapeutic for Parkinson’s disease, and would trigger additional studies to characterize mechanisms underlying xenon’s effects as well as xenon dose optimization studies.