Vectors based on lentiviruses are opening up new approaches for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Currently, the equine infectious anaemia virus (EIAV) vector is one of the most attractive gene delivery systems with respect to neuronal tropism. The aim was to validate EIAV-lentiviral vectors as a gene delivery system for neurotrophic factor genes in an animal model of Parkinson's disease. EIAV carrying the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) gene was unilaterally injected into rat striatum and above the substantia nigra (SN). One week later, the rats received a 6-OHDA lesion into the ipsilateral striatum. GDNF delivery led to extensive expression of GDNF protein within the striatum. In addition, near complete protection against dopaminergic cell death was observed in the GDNF-treated group.