• 17β-oestradiol;
  • dopamine;
  • DAT;
  • VMAT;
  • androgen.


Previous work from our laboratory has demonstrated prevention of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6, tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced striatal dopamine depletion in C57Bl/6 mice by 17β-oestradiol, progesterone and raloxifene. The activity of androgenic compounds in MPTP mice has received less attention and was the object of the present investigation. The effects of 17β-oestradiol (2 µg/day), testosterone (100 µg/day) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) (2 µg/day or 100 µg/day) were studied during 5 days before and after an acute treatment of four MPTP (10 mg/kg) injections in male C57Bl/6 mice. Striatal concentrations of dopamine and its metabolites dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and homovanillic acid were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. MPTP mice treated with saline showed large decreases in dopamine and its metabolites compared to control mice. 17β-oestradiol partially spared this decrease whereas testosterone and DHT did not. Striatal specific binding to the dopamine transporter (DAT) and to the vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2) were measured using [125I] RTI-121 and [3H] dihydrotetrabenazine autoradiography, respectively. As with striatal dopamine concentrations, MPTP treatment caused a decrease in DAT and VMAT2 specific binding. 17β-oestradiol partially spared this decrease, whereas androgens did not. In the substantia nigra, DAT mRNA was measured by in situ hybridization. MPTP treatment induced a significant, but smaller decrease in substantia nigra DAT mRNA than striatal DAT protein. In addition, 17β-oestradiol completely prevented the MPTP-induced decrease of DAT mRNA, whereas androgens did not. The present results show that androgens are unable to protect against MPTP-induced dopaminergic toxicity.