Chronic levodopa treatment alters expression and function of dopamine D3 receptor in the MPTP/p mouse model of Parkinson's disease

Samantha R. Cote, Eldo V. Kuzhikandathil

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18 Scopus citations


Chronic treatment with levodopa or antipsychotics results in manifestation of side-effects such as dyskinesia which correlates with changes in expression and function of receptors and signaling proteins. Previous studies have suggested a role for the dopamine D3 receptor in Parkinson's disease (PD) and tardive dyskinesia. Yet the expression and signaling function of D3 receptor in these disorders is not well understood. Here we tested the hypothesis that chronic levodopa treatment alters both expression and function of D3 receptors in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine plus probenecid (MPTP/p) mouse model of PD. drd3-EGFP reporter mice were injected biweekly with saline or MPTP and probenecid for a 5-week period. During the last two weeks of the 5-week period, the mice were administered saline or levodopa twice daily. Locomotor activity was measured during the treatment period. D3 receptor expression was determined by western blot analysis. D3 receptor signaling function was determined at tissue and single cell level by measuring the activation of D3 receptor-mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. The drd3-EGFP mice administered MPTP/p exhibited akinesia/bradykinesia. Expression of D3 receptor protein in the dorsal striatum specifically increased in the MPTP/p-treated mice administered levodopa. In the dorsal striatum of levodopa and MPTP/p-treated drd3-EGFP mice, administration of a D3 receptor-selective dose of agonist, PD128907, failed to activate D3 receptor-MAPK signaling. These results suggest that MPTP-induced lesion and chronic levodopa treatment alters D3 receptor expression and function in the dorsal striatum which could contribute to the development of dyskinesias and other motor side-effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)


  • Drd3-EGFP mice
  • Levodopa
  • Levodopa-induced dyskinesia
  • MPTP
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Tolerance


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