Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The debate about the toxicity of L-DOPA to dopaminergic neurons has not been resolved. Even though enzymatic and nonenzymatic metabolism of L-DOPA can produce hydrogen peroxide and oxygen free radicals, there has been controversy as to whether L-DOPA generates an oxidant stress in vivo. This study determined whether acute or repeated administration of L-DOPA caused in vivo production of hydroxyl radicals in striatum and other brain regions in rats with a unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesion of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal projections. Salicylate trapping combined with in vivo microdialysis provided measurements of extracellular 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid (2,3-DHBA) in striatum following L-DOPA administration systemically (100 mg/kg, i.p.) or by intrastriatal perfusion (1 mM, via the microdialysis probe). Tissue concentrations of 2,3-DHBA and salicylate were also measured in striatum, ventral midbrain, and cerebellum following repeated administration of L-DOPA (50 mg/kg, i.p., once daily for 16 days). In each instance, treatment with L-DOPA did not increase 2,3-DHBA concentrations, regardless of the nigrostriatal dopamine system's integrity. When added to the microdialysis perfusion medium, L-DOPA resulted in a significant decrease in the striatal extracellular concentration of 2,3-DHBA. These results suggest that administration of L-DOPA, even at high doses, does not induce hydroxyl radical formation in vivo and under some conditions may actually diminish hydroxyl radical activity. Furthermore, prior damage to the nigrostriatal dopamine system does not appear to predispose surviving dopaminergic neurons to increased hydroxyl radical formation following L-DOPA administration. Unlike L-DOPA, systemic administration of methamphetamine (10 mg/kg, s.c.) produced a significant increase in the concentration of 2,3-DHBA in striatal dialysate, suggesting that increased formation of hydroxyl radicals may contribute to methamphetamine neurotoxicity.
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