We investigated the effects of a combined treatment of male C57Bl/6 mice with diethyldithiocarbamate and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) in the absence or presence of different forms of lipoic acid (Thioctacid TR; commonly used for treatment of diabetic polyneuropathies) on levels and redox states of alpha-tocopherol and coenzyme Q in vivo and on activities of various enzymes of energy metabolism ex vivo. Treatment of mice with diethyldithiocarbamate plus MPTP resulted in a decrease in dopamine (67%) and its major metabolites dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (38%) and homovanillic acid (37%) in striatum. alpha-Tocopherol levels were unaltered in striatum; however, the reduced forms of coenzyme Q were decreased in frontal cortex and hippocampus following diethyldithiocarbamate plus MPTP. In frontal cortex activity of NADH dehydrogenase was significantly inhibited by diethyldithiocarbamate plus MPTP ex vivo, suggesting that the neurotoxic metabolite of MPTP, 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion, is acting in brain regions other than striatum as well. Lipoic acid, administered 6 times, each at 90 min prior to MPTP, could not restore dopamine in striatum but in contrast maintained a normal ratio of the reduced form to the oxidized form of coenzyme Q, suggesting an interaction of lipoic acid with energy metabolism which seems, however, not only to be due to an activation of pyruvate dehydrogenase.