Striatal mRNA expression patterns underlying peak dose L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in the 6-OHDA hemiparkinsonian rat

Neuroscience. 2016 Jun 2;324:238-51. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.03.012. Epub 2016 Mar 8.


L-DOPA is the primary pharmacological treatment for relief of the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD). With prolonged treatment (⩾5 years) the majority of patients will develop abnormal involuntary movements as a result of L-DOPA treatment, known as L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of dyskinesia is a crucial step toward developing treatments for this debilitating side effect. We used the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) rat model of PD treated with a three-week dosing regimen of L-DOPA plus the dopa decarboxylase inhibitor benserazide (4 mg/kg and 7.5 mg/kgs.c., respectively) to induce dyskinesia in 50% of individuals. We then used RNA-seq to investigate the differences in mRNA expression in the striatum of dyskinetic animals, non-dyskinetic animals, and untreated parkinsonian controls at the peak of dyskinesia expression, 60 min after L-DOPA administration. Overall, 255 genes were differentially expressed; with significant differences in mRNA expression observed between all three groups. In dyskinetic animals 129 genes were more highly expressed and 14 less highly expressed when compared with non-dyskinetic and untreated parkinsonian controls. In L-DOPA treated animals 42 genes were more highly expressed and 95 less highly expressed when compared with untreated parkinsonian controls. Gene set cluster analysis revealed an increase in expression of genes associated with the cytoskeleton and phosphoproteins in dyskinetic animals compared with non-dyskinetic animals, which is consistent with recent studies documenting an increase in synapses in dyskinetic animals. These genes may be potential targets for drugs to ameliorate L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia or as an adjunct treatment to prevent their occurrence.

Keywords: 6-OHDA; Parkinson’s disease; RNA-seq; dyskinesia; l-DOPA; striatum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiparkinson Agents / pharmacology
  • Antiparkinson Agents / toxicity*
  • Benserazide / pharmacology
  • Benserazide / toxicity*
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Corpus Striatum / pathology
  • Cytoskeleton / drug effects
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Drug Combinations
  • Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced / metabolism*
  • Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced / pathology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Levodopa / pharmacology
  • Levodopa / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Oxidopamine
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / drug therapy
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / metabolism*
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • RNA, Messenger
  • benserazide, levodopa drug combination
  • Levodopa
  • Benserazide
  • Oxidopamine
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase