Melatonin attenuates hLRRK2-induced Sleep disturbances and synaptic dysfunction in a Drosophila model of Parkinson's disease

Xicui Sun, Dongzhi Ran, Xiaofeng Zhao, Yi Huang, Simei Long, Fengyin Liang, Wenyuan Guo, Frederick C. Nucifora, Huaiyu Gu, Xilin Lu, Ling Chen, Jinsheng Zeng, Christopher A. Ross, Zhong Pei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Sleep problems are the most common non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD), and are more difficult to treat than the motor symptoms. In the current study, the role of human leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (hLRRK2), the most common genetic cause of PD, was investigated with regards to sleep problems, and the therapeutic potential of melatonin in hLRRK2-associated sleep problems was explored in Drosophila. hLRRK2 was selectively expressed in the mushroom bodies (MBs) in Drosophila and sleep patterns were measured using the Drosophila Activity Monitoring System. MB expression of hLRRK2 resulted in sleep problems, presyn - aptic dysfunction as evidenced by reduced miniature excitatory postsynaptic current (mEPSC) and excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP) frequency, and excessive synaptic plasticity such as increased axon bouton density. Treatment with melatonin at 4 mM significantly attenuated the sleep problems and rescued the reduction in mEPSC and EPSP frequency in the hLRRK2 transgenic flies. The present study demonstrates that MB expression of hLRRK2 in flies recapitulates the clinical features of the sleep disturbances in PD, and that melatonin attenuates hLRRK2-induced sleep disorders and synaptic dysfunction, suggesting the therapeutic potential of melatonin in PD patients carrying LRRK2 mutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3936-3944
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Medicine Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2016


  • Drosophila
  • Electrophysiology properties
  • LRRK2
  • Melatonin
  • Mushroom body
  • Sleep pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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