The neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) continues to constitute a valuable topical tool used chiefly in modeling Parkinson's disease in the rat. The classical method of intracerebral infusion of 6-OHDA involving a massive destruction of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons, is largely used to investigate motor and biochemical dysfunctions in Parkinson's disease. Subsequently, more subtle models of partial dopaminergic degeneration have been developed with the aim of revealing finer motor deficits. The present review will examine the main features of 6-OHDA models, namely the mechanisms of neurotoxin-induced neurodegeneration as well as several behavioural deficits and motor dysfunctions, including the priming model, modeled by this means. An overview of the most recent morphological and biochemical findings obtained with the 6-OHDA model will also be provided, particular attention being focused on the newly investigated intracellular mechanisms at the striatal level (e.g., A(2A) and NMDA receptors, PKA, CaMKII, ERK kinases, as well as immediate early genes, GAD67 and peptides). Thanks to studies performed in the 6-OHDA model, all these mechanisms have now been hypothesised to represent the site of pathological dysfunction at cellular level in Parkinson's disease.