The aim of the present experiment was to test whether: (i) the destruction of the dopaminergic meso-telencephalic pathway in neonatal rats induces an increase in the density of Neuropeptide Y immunoreactive (NPY-IR) neuronal perikarya within the denervated neostriatum; (ii) embryonic dopaminergic neurons grafted into the neonatal neostriatum could block such an effect of the lesion. As a control, density of NPY-IR neurones was also examined in rats lesioned and/or grafted at adulthood. The ascending dopaminergic system of 3-day-old rat pups or adult rats was unilaterally lesioned by intrahypothalamic injection of 6-hydroxydopamine. Grafting was performed six days later. The neonatal lesion increased the number of NPY-IR neurones on the lesioned side by 24% as compared to the contralateral neonstriatum. This increase was abolished in the neostriatum bearing dopaminergic grafts as evaluated six weeks after grafting. These effects are similar to that observed in animals lesioned and/or grafted as adults and further extend the range of post-lesion modifications which can be reversed by the implantation of embryonic DA neurones to neonates.