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Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Oct 1;62(7):800-10. Epub 2007 Jul 26.

Spatiotemporal pattern of striatal ERK1/2 phosphorylation in a rat model of L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia and the role of dopamine D1 receptors.

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  • 1Basal Ganglia Pathophysiology Unit, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Lund University, Sweden.



We examined the activation pattern of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) and its dependence on D1 versus D2 dopamine receptors in hemiparkinsonian rats treated with 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-L-alanine (L-DOPA).


6-Hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats were treated acutely or chronically with L-DOPA in combination with antagonists for D1 or D2 receptors. Development of dyskinesia was monitored in animals receiving chronic drug treatment. Phosphorylation of ERK1/2, mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase-1 (MSK-1), and the levels of FosB/DeltaFosB expression were examined immunohistochemically.


L-DOPA treatment caused phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in the dopamine-denervated striatum after acute and chronic administration. Similar levels were observed in matrix and striosomes, and in enkephalin-positive and dynorphin-positive neurons. The severity of dyskinesia was positively correlated with phospho-ERK1/2 levels. Phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and MSK-1 was dose-dependently blocked by SCH23390, but not by raclopride. SCH23390 also inhibited the development of dyskinesia and the induction of FosB/DeltaFosB.


L-DOPA produces pronounced activation of ERK1/2 signaling in the dopamine-denervated striatum through a D1-receptor-dependent mechanism. This effect is associated with the development of dyskinesia. Phosphorylated ERK1/2 is localized to both dynorphinergic and enkephalinergic striatal neurons, suggesting a general role of ERK1/2 as a plasticity molecule during L-DOPA treatment.

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