Administration of VP025 (Vasogen Inc.), a novel drug formulation based on phospholipid nanoparticles incorporating phosphatidylglycerol, has previously been shown to have a neuroprotective effect in the brain. We examined the effect of VP025 in a rat model of Parkinson's disease, the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesion of the medial forebrain bundle. VP025 or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) was administered to rats 14 days, 13 days and 1 day before the unilateral 6-OHDA lesion. Functional integrity of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons was assessed 7 and 21 days later by amphetamine-induced rotational testing and we observed that rotational counts were significantly less in rats that were pretreated with VP025 compared with PBS-pretreated 6-OHDA-lesioned rats. Neurochemical analysis at 10 and 28 days after lesion revealed that VP025 protected against a 6-OHDA-induced decrease in concentrations of striatal dopamine and its metabolites. Immunocytochemical studies of the ipsilateral substantia nigra showed that VP025 significantly inhibited 6-OHDA-induced loss of dopaminergic neurons. We also observed that increases in immunostaining for activated microglia and for activated p38 in dopaminergic neurons of 6-OHDA-lesioned rats were prevented by VP025. This study shows that VP025 has significant protective effects on the 6-OHDA-lesioned nigrostriatal pathway and may therefore have potential for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.