Pharmacological manipulation of the dopaminergic system can take on two basic forms either targeting dopamine biosynthesis or destruction of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. Both reserpine and alpha-methyl-para-tyrosine (AMPT) interfere with dopamine production and result in a temporary dopamine depletion lasting hours to days, whereas neurotoxicants such as 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) result in midbrain dopaminergic cell death. Methamphetamine (METH) is a class of compound that selectively destroys axonal terminals of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons usually without significant cell death. Recently, other compounds, particularly pesticides and proteasome inhibitors, have been utilized as selective toxins targeting the dopaminergic system since the mitochondria of these cells display enhanced vulnerability during chronic exposure. The utility of compounds to generate animal models of parkinsonism are discussed in the following sections.
Was this article helpful?