1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,5,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) produces Parkinsonism in both experimental animals and in man. MPTP is metabolized to 1-methyl-4-phenylpridinium, an inhibitor of mitochondrial complex I. MPTP administration produces ATP depletions in vivo, which may lead to secondary excitotoxicity and free radical generation. If this is the case then agents which improve mitochondrial function or free radical scavengers should attenuate MPTP neurotoxicity. In the present experiments three regimens of MPTP administration produced varying degrees of striatal dopamine depletion. A combination of coenzyme Q10 and nicotinamide protected against both mild and moderate depletion of dopamine. In the MPTP regimen which produced mild dopamine depletion nicotinamide or the free radical spin trap N-tert-butyl-alpha-(2-sulfophenyl)-nitrone were also effective. There was no protection with a MPTP regimen which produced severe dopamine depletion. These results show that agents which improve mitochondrial energy production (coenzyme Q10 and nicotinamide) and free radical scavengers can attenuate mild to moderate MPTP neurotoxicity.