Identification of a potentially neurotoxic pyridinium metabolite of haloperidol in rats

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1990 Jan 15;166(1):238-44. doi: 10.1016/0006-291x(90)91936-m.


In vivo metabolic studies have revealed that haloperidol is converted to the corresponding pyridinium metabolite which has been characterized in both urine and brain tissues isolated from haloperidol treated rats. Unlike the corresponding conversion of the structurally related Parkinsonian inducing agent MPTP to the ultimate neurotoxic pyridinium metabolite MPP+, the oxidative biotransformation of haloperidol is not catalyzed by MAO-B. Microdialysis studies in the rat indicate that intrastriatal administration of this pyridinium metabolite is about 10% as effective as MPP+ in causing the irreversible depletion of striatal nerve terminal dopamine. The results point to the possibility that some of the neurological disorders observed in experimental animals and man during the course of chronic haloperidol treatment may be mediated by this pyridinium metabolite.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotransformation
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Haloperidol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Haloperidol / chemical synthesis
  • Haloperidol / metabolism*
  • Haloperidol / urine
  • Male
  • Neurotoxins*
  • Pyridinium Compounds / chemical synthesis
  • Pyridinium Compounds / metabolism*
  • Pyridinium Compounds / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Neurotoxins
  • Pyridinium Compounds
  • Haloperidol
  • Dopamine