Effects of dopamine agonists on the spontaneous activity of globus pallidus neurons in monkeys with MPTP-induced parkinsonism

Brain Res. 1991 Apr 26;547(1):152-61.


The mixed (D1 and D2) dopamine agonist apomorphine was injected (10-200 micrograms/kg, s.c.) to cynomolgus monkeys before and after they were rendered parkinsonian by 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). Motor behavior was examined together with corresponding neuronal activity in the external (GPe) and internal (GPi) segments of the globus pallidus, including a small population of neurons localized within the GPe and displaying a characteristic discharge at low frequency with bursts (LFB), and border (Bor) neurons localized at the periphery of the pallidal segments. In the intact animal strong but not weak doses of the drug induced generalized agitation without apparent neuronal effects. In 1 parkinsonian animal that showed some recuperation of normal behavioral and pallidal activity, weak doses induced agitation and partly reduced the signs of parkinsonism, again without apparent neuronal effects. The same results were obtained before day 21 after MPTP in a parkinsonian monkey that did not recuperate. After day 21, however, the drug acted at a shorter latency, completely abolished the signs of parkinsonism, induced dyskinesia, increasing with repetition of injections, and clear neuronal effects. The same results were obtained from the start in another monkey in which recordings were begun 398 days after MPTP. Nearly all GPi neurons decreased their firing rate following apomorphine. The reverse was true of the predominant neuronal population in the GPe. In both cases, the intensity of the changes in firing rate varied much between neurons following the same dose of apomorphine. When the changes in firing rate were moderate or null, abnormal bursting firing patterns were normalized. Both LFB and Bor neurons decreased their firing rate following apomorphine; LFB neurons being extremely sensitive. The selective D2 agonist RU-24213 induced behavioral and neuronal effects identical to those of apomorphine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Animals
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology
  • Basal Ganglia / cytology
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology
  • Dopamine Agents / pharmacology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Globus Pallidus / cytology*
  • Globus Pallidus / drug effects
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / physiopathology*
  • Phenethylamines / pharmacology


  • Dopamine Agents
  • Phenethylamines
  • 1-methyl-4-(2'-methylphenyl)-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine
  • N-n-propyl-N-phenylethyl-4(3-hydroxyphenyl)ethylamine hydrochloride
  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine
  • Apomorphine