Levodopa gains psychostimulant-like properties after nigral dopaminergic loss.

Michel Engeln, Stefania Fasano, Serge H. Ahmed, Martine Cador, Veerle Baekelandt, Erwan Bezard, Pierre-Olivier Fernagut
Ann Neurol.. 2013-07-01; 74(1): 140-144
DOI: 10.1002/ana.23881

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Dopamine dysregulation syndrome shares some core behavioral features with
psychostimulant addiction, suggesting that dopamine replacement therapy can
acquire psychostimulantlike properties in some patients with Parkinson disease
(PD). We here report strong experimental evidence supporting this hypothesis in
an α-synuclein rat model of PD. Although levodopa had no effect in controls, it
acquired 2 prominent psychostimulantlike properties in Parkinsonian rats: (1) it
produced intense reward on its own and in parallel (2) decreased interest in
other nondrug reward. These 2 effects may combine to explain the addictive use of
levodopa after loss of midbrain dopamine neurons in some PD patients.

Copyright © 2013 American Neurological Association.


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