Parkinson's disease is associated with degeneration of the dopaminergic component of the nigrostriatal pathway. However, the neurological symptoms of this disorder do not emerge until the degenerative process is almost complete. A comparable phenomenon can be observed in animal models of Parkinson's disease produced by the administration of the selective neurotoxin, 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA). Studies using such models suggest that the extensive loss of dopaminergic neurons is compensated, in large part, by increased synthesis and release of dopamine (DA) from those DA neurons that remain, together with a reduced rate of DA inactivation. These findings may have important implications for the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of neurological and psychiatric diseases, as well as for our understanding of plasticity in monoaminergic systems.