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J Neurochem. 1997 Jan;68(1):233-9.

Intranasal administration of the dopaminergic agonists L-DOPA, amphetamine, and cocaine increases dopamine activity in the neostriatum: a microdialysis study in the rat.

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Institute of Physiological Psychology I, Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, Germany.


The effectiveness of intranasal drug administration to stimulate central neuronal systems is well known from drug addiction and has also been considered as an alternative pharmacokinetic approach to treat brain disorders such as Parkinson's disease. In the present study, the possible neurochemical effects of intranasal administration of the psychostimulants cocaine and amphetamine and of the antiparkinsonian drug L-DOPA were analyzed. By using in vivo microdialysis in the urethane-anesthetized rat, it was found that unilateral intranasal administration of either of the psychostimulants led to huge and rapid increases of extracellular dopamine levels in the neostriatum followed by decreases of its metabolites dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and homovanillic acid. Furthermore, intranasal administration of L-DOPA, but not of the saline vehicle, also led to increased extracellular levels of neostriatal dopamine and to increases of its metabolites. Because the effect of intranasal L-DOPA on neostriatal dopamine was observed only ipsilaterally but not contralaterally to the side of intranasal drug administration, it can be hypothesized that L-DOPA was not effective via passage through the circulation but may have acted through a neuronal or an extraneuronal route. These data provide neurochemical evidence that the intranasal route may not only be efficient in drug abuse, but may also be useful to target the brain therapeutically, as in the case of neurodegenerative brain disorders.

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