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Ann Neurol. 1991 Nov;30(5):717-23.

The AMPA receptor antagonist NBQX has antiparkinsonian effects in monoamine-depleted rats and MPTP-treated monkeys.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Tübingen, Germany.


Abnormally increased subthalamic nucleus output to the internal pallidal segment and the reticular part of the substantia nigra plays a critical pathophysiological role in the development of parkinsonism. Because synaptic transmission of subthalamic output is glutamatergic and mediated, in part, by the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA) subtype of glutamate receptor, AMPA receptor antagonists may possess antiparkinsonian properties. We report that in monoamine-depleted rats, 2,3-dihydroxy-6-nitro-7-sulfamoyl-benzo(f)quinoxaline (NBQX) (Novo-Nordisk, Copenhagen, Denmark)--a selective antagonist of the AMPA subtype of glutamate receptor--suppressed muscular rigidity but had no effect on akinesia. NBQX microinjected into the subthalamic nucleus, internal pallidal segment, and reticular part of the substantia nigra, but not into the laterodorsal neostriatum of the rats, stimulated locomotor activity and reduced muscular rigidity. In aged Rhesus monkeys with bilateral 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-induced parkinsonism, intramuscular NBQX produced clinically apparent improvement in akinesia, tremor, posture, and gross motor skills. NBQX also potentiated the antiparkinsonian effects of L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine in both rats and monkeys. Blockade of excitatory synaptic transmission by AMPA receptor antagonists may provide a new therapeutic strategy for Parkinson's disease (PD).

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