Electrophysiological and neurochemical correlates of the neurotoxic effects of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) on central catecholamine neurons in the mouse

G. Jonsson, E. Sundström, I. Mefford, L. Olson, S. Johnson, R. Freedman, B. Hoffer

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1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) is an agent which produces a parkinsonian syndrome in man. To explore the use of MPTP in a rodent model of parkinsonism, male albino mice (NMRI) were given MPTP (50 mg/kg, s.c.) twice with a 6-8 h interval. Up to 10 weeks after injection, mice were killed and high-pressure liquid chromatography was used to assay dopamine (DA) and noradrenaline (NA) concentrations in various regions of the CNS. At 4 and 10 weeks after injection, DA levels were significantly reduced in occipital cortex (-40%), hippocampus (-30%), and striatum (-60%). NA levels were reduced by 60-80% in frontal and occipital cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum. Neither DA nor NA concentration was reduced in spinal cord. Dopaminergic denervation was also suggested by electrophysiological data which showed that treatment with MPTP increased the spontaneous discharge rate of caudate neurons and decreased the potency of locally administered phencyclidine, an indirect DA agonist. However, denervation was evidently not complete enough to produce postsynaptic receptor supersensitivity, as MPTP treatment did not increase the potency of locally applied DA, and it did not increase 3H-spiperone binding in striatal membrane preparations. These results suggest that MPTP causes regionally selective and long-term reductions of catecholamine transmission in the CNS of the mouse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalNaunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 1985



  • Catecholamines
  • Electrophysiology
  • MPTP
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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