Effects of repeated administration of L-DOPA and apomorphine on circling behavior and striatal dopamine formation

Timothy Brannan, Alla Prikhojan, Melvin D. Yahr

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11 Scopus citations


We tested the circling response to L-DOPA and apomorphine administration in rats with unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesions of the substantia nigra. Rats demonstrated a progressively diminished circling response when L- DOPA-carbidopa was repeatedly administered at 120 min intervals. This decreasing response was not present when apomorphine was administered under the same conditions. We also perfused L-DOPA directly into the striatum in vivo of rats with an ipsilateral 6-OHDA nigrotomy at 60 min intervals and monitored striatal dopamine levels with the technique of brain microdialysis. Dopamine formation increased from the first to the fifth trial. This may he secondary to the decrease in uptake sites which accompanies the loss of striatal dopamine nerve terminals. We postulate that the continued presence of dopamine at striatal receptor sites conditions a short-term loss of dopamine receptor sensitivity and a consequent decreased circling response. The observation that desensitization (as measured by decreasing circling) was not present following repeated apomorphine administration may be attributable to its shorter duration of action. We also perfused L-DOPA into the striatum of normal rats and noted a progressive decrease in striatal dopamine levels from the first to the fifth trial. Since this occurred following direct administration of L-DOPA into the striatum, the decrease could not he accounted for by peripheral pharmacodynamics or bioavailability of L-DOPA in the striatum. Since this decrease in dopamine formation was seen only in the normal striatum, its relevance to the diminished behavioral response is unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-153
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 16 1998


  • Brain microdialysis
  • Dopamine
  • L-DOPA
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Repeated administration


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