Neurochemical changes in the striatum of dyskinetic rats after administration of the cannabinoid agonist WIN55,212-2

M. G. Morgese, T. Cassano, S. Gaetani, T. Macheda, L. Laconca, P. Dipasquale, L. Ferraro, T. Antonelli, V. Cuomo, A. Giuffrida

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44 Scopus citations


Chronic use of levodopa, the most effective treatment for Parkinson's disease, causes abnormal involuntary movements named dyskinesias, which are linked to maladaptive changes in plasticity and disturbances of dopamine and glutamate neurotransmission in the basal ganglia. Dyskinesias can be modeled in rats with unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesions by repeated administration of low doses of levodopa (6 mg/kg, s.c.). Previous studies from our lab showed that sub-chronic treatment with the cannabinoid agonist WIN55,212-2 attenuates levodopa-induced dyskinesias at doses that do not interfere with physiological motor function. To investigate the neurochemical changes underlying WIN55,212-2 anti-dyskinetic effects, we used in vivo microdialysis to monitor extracellular dopamine and glutamate in the dorsal striatum of both the hemispheres of freely moving 6-hydroxydopamine-treated, SHAM-operated and intact rats receiving levodopa acutely or chronically (11 days), and studied how sub-chronic WIN55,212-2 (1 injection × 3 days, 20 min before levodopa) affected these neurochemical outputs. Our data indicate that: (1) the 6-hydroxydopamine lesion decreases dopamine turnover in the denervated striatum; (2) levodopa injection reduces extracellular glutamate in the side ipsilateral to the lesion of dyskinetic rats; (3) sub-chronic WIN55,212-2 prevents levodopa-induced glutamate volume transmission unbalances across the two hemispheres; and (4) levodopa-induced dyskinesias are inversely correlated with glutamate levels in the denervated striatum. These data indicate that the anti-dyskinetic properties of WIN55,212-2 are accompanied by changes of dopamine and glutamate outputs in the two brain hemispheres of 6-hydroxydopamine-treated rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
JournalNeurochemistry International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Grant FIRB 2007 (to V.C.), by the National Institute of Health NS 050401-04 (to A.G.) and by the National Parkinson Foundation (to A.G.).


  • 6-Hydroxydopamine
  • Dopamine
  • Glutamate
  • Microdialysis
  • Parkinson's disease


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