5alpha-reductase inhibitors dampen L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia via normalization of dopamine D1-receptor signaling pathway and D1-D3 receptor interaction

Neurobiol Dis. 2019 Jan;121:120-130. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2018.09.018. Epub 2018 Sep 24.


Although 1-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) is the mainstay therapy for treating Parkinson's disease (PD), its long-term administration is accompanied by the development of motor complications, particularly L-DOPA induced dyskinesia (LID), that dramatically affects patients' quality of life. LID has consistently been related to an excessive dopamine receptor transmission, particularly at the down-stream signaling of the striatal D1 receptors (D1R), resulting in an exaggerated stimulation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway. We previously reported that pharmacological blockade of 5alpha-reductase (5AR), the rate-limiting enzyme in neurosteroids synthesis, attenuates the severity of a broad set of behavioral alterations induced by D1R and D3R activation, without inducing extrapyramidal symptoms. In line with this evidence, in a recent study, we found that inhibition of 5AR by finasteride (FIN) produced a significant reduction of dyskinesia induced by L-DOPA and direct dopaminergic agonists in 6-OHDA-lesioned rats. In the attempt to further investigate the effect of 5AR inhibitors on dyskinesia and shed light on the mechanism of action, in the present study we compared the effect of FIN and dutasteride (DUTA), a potent dual 5AR inhibitor, on the development of LID, on the therapeutic efficacy of L-DOPA, on the molecular alterations downstream to the D1R, as well as on D1R-D3R interaction. The results indicated that both FIN and DUTA administration significantly reduced development and expression of LID; however, DUTA appeared more effective than FIN at a lower dose and produced its antidyskinetic effect without impacting the ability of L-DOPA to increase motor activation, or ameliorate forelimb use in parkinsonian rats. Moreover, this study demonstrates for the first time that 5AR inhibitors are able to prevent key events in the appearance of dyskinesia, such as L-DOPA-induced upregulation of striatal D1R-related cAMP/PKA/ERK signaling pathways and D1R-D3R coimmunoprecipitation, an index of heteromer formation. These findings are relevant as they confirm the 5AR enzyme as a potential therapeutic target for treatment of dyskinesia in PD, suggesting the first ever evidence that neurosteroidogenesis may affect functional interaction between dopamine D1R and D3R.

Keywords: 5alpha-reductase; 6-OHDA; Dopamine; Dutasteride; Dyskinesia; L-DOPA; Neurosteroids; Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5-alpha Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Animals
  • Antiparkinson Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dutasteride / administration & dosage*
  • Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced / metabolism
  • Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced / prevention & control*
  • Finasteride / administration & dosage*
  • Levodopa / administration & dosage*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • Male
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D3 / metabolism*


  • 5-alpha Reductase Inhibitors
  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Receptors, Dopamine D3
  • Levodopa
  • Finasteride
  • Dutasteride