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Receptor basis for dopaminergic supersensitivity in Parkinson's disease

Abstract

IN patients with Parkinson's disease, the concentration of dopamine in the basal ganglia of the brain is markedly reduced in accordance with the degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopamine-containing neurones1,2. This fact provided the basis for the successful clinical introduction of L-dopa (L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalaline) for Parkinson's disease3,6. It has been suggested that one of the critical factors compensating for the loss of dopamine neurones may be the development of “denervation supersensitivity” in the striatum, as severe cases react more sensitively to L-dopa than milder cases or controls7–9. By measuring dopamine receptors in the putamen and caudate of postmortem brains from Parkinson patients, we report here evidence in support of the theory of dopaminergic supersensitivity in Parkinson's disease.

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