As shown in the rat by estimation of dopamine (DA) and noradrenaline (NA) levels, bilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA, 4 μg/μl) lesions made in the ventral mesencephalic tegmentum (VMT) destroy both ascending DA and NA neurones. Pretreatment of rats with desmethylimipramine (DMI, 30 mg/kg, i.p.), 30 min before microinjection of 6-OHDA into the VMT partially prevented the destruction of the DA neurones innervating the prefrontal and cingulate cortices but not those innervating subcortical structures (nucleus accumbens, olfactory tubercles, septum). Results obtained from the prefrontal cortex of rats with extensive lesions of the ascending NA neurones performed 15 days prior to the 6-OHDA lesions of the VMT in the presence of DMI, imply that NA innervation of the VMT seems to be required for DMI to protect the cortical DA neurones from the neurotoxic effect of 6-OHDA. © 1986.
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