Following a previous study in which we showed ameliorative effects of basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) locally applied to the nigrostriatal system in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-lesioned mice, we investigated FGF-2 actions at different time intervals after the lesion and effects on non-dopaminergic striatal transmitter systems. A triple intraperitoneal injection of 30 mg/kg MPTP at 24 h intervals caused a reduction of striatal dopamine to 23% of control levels that lasted for at least 4 weeks. Four μg FGF-2 soaked into gel foam and placed onto the right striatum partially and bilaterally restored dopamine levels and tyrosine hydroxylase activity after 2 weeks, when the treatment started simultaneously or 1 day after the toxin lesion. FGF-2 was ineffective, if administration commenced with a delay of 7 days. Striatal neurotransmitters that are known to be linked to the dopaminergic system were also altered by the MPTP treatment. GABA was significantly increased, while somatostatin levels were reduced. Upon FGF-2 administration both GABA and somatostatin levels were partially normalized. Our data are consistent with the notion that FGF-2 protects and rescues acutely and subacutely MPTP-lesioned nigrostriatal neurons and that its effects must be mainly indirect. Likewise, positive effects of FGF-2 on non-dopaminergic neurons may be due to the partial restoration of striatal dopamine.