We examined the sequential changes in neurotensin receptors in the striatum and substantia nigra of mouse brains lesioned with 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) by receptor autoradiography, in comparison with the alterations in dopamine uptake sites. The mice received four intraperitoneal injections of MPTP (10 mg/kg) at 1-h intervals and then the brains were analyzed at 6 h and 1, 3, 7, and 21 days after the treatments. [3H]Neurotensin and [3H]mazindol were used to label neurotensin receptors and dopamine uptake sites, respectively. [3H]Neurotensin binding was significantly decreased in the striatum from 6 h to 21 days after MPTP treatment. In the substantia nigra, pars reticulata also showed a significant decrease in [3H]neurotensin binding from 3 to 21 days post-MPTP treatment. However, no significant change in [3H]neurotensin binding was observed in the pars compacta even after 21 days. On the other hand, [3H]mazindol binding was markedly decreased in the striatum and substantia nigra from 6 h to 21 days after MPTP treatment. These results indicate that neurotoxin MPTP can produce a severe decrease in neurotensin receptors and dopamine uptake sites in the striatum and substantia nigra of mice. Thus, our findings provide evidence that the dysfunction in neurotensin receptors may be involved in the degenerative processes causing Parkinson's disease. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.
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