The ionic species 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+)) seems to be the metabolite responsible for the damage to dopaminergic neurons occurring after administration of the parkinsonian drug 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine. In the present study we show that the unilateral stereotaxic microinjection of MPP(+) into the substantia nigra pars reticulata in rats produces immediately intense and long-lasting (up to 96 h) contralateral turning behavior in a dose-dependent manner. This behavioral effect was correlated with a dose- and time-dependent decrease (up to 90%) of glutamate decarboxylase activity and with a notable loss of neurons in the injected nigra reticulata. GABA levels in the injected nigra were also decreased, whereas the dopamine concentration in the ipsilateral striatum was not affected at 24 h, when maximal behavioral effects were observed. The circling behavior was prevented by the dopamine carrier blocker nomifensine only during the first 2 h, whereas the dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol was ineffective. The results indicate that MPP(+) is toxic for inhibitory GABAergic neurons in the nigra pars reticulata and, furthermore, suggest that disruption of the function of these GABAergic neurons may be involved in the abnormal motor behavior produced by the injection of MPP(+) in the substantia nigra.
Última actualización: 26/10/2016