The present study was undertaken to explore the involvement of nitric oxide (NO) in the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) experimental model of Parkinson's disease (PD) in rats. The effect of pharmacological manipulation of the NO system was evaluated on striatal dopamine (DA) level decrease produced by the toxin. 7-nitroindazole (7-NI, 50 mg/kg i.p.; n= 5) pretreatment significantly restored the striatal DA contents. Conversely, 40 mg/kg i.p. of molsidomine (MOL, n= 5), an NO donor, significantly worsened the neurodegeneration (n= 5) and completely counteracted the neuroprotective effect of 7-NI (n= 5). Thus, a crucial role for NO in 6-OHDA induced neurodegeneration is suggested together with a protective benefit for inhibitors of NOS in the treatment of PD.