Receptor autoradiographic technique was studied to investigate sequential changes in adenylyl cyclase, adenosine A1 receptors and L-type calcium channels in the striatum and substantia nigra 1-8 weeks after unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine injection of the medial forebrain bundle in rats. [3H]Forskolin. [3H]cyclohexyladenosine (CHA) and [3H]PN200-110 were used to label adenylyl cyclase, adenosine A1 receptors and L-type calcium channels, respectively. The degeneration of the nigrostriatal pathway caused a significant increase in [3H]forskolin binding in the striatum of both the ipsilateral and contralateral sides from 2 to 4 weeks post-lesion. The ipsilateral substantia nigra showed a transient increase in [3H]forskolin binding 4 weeks post-lesion. In contrast, [3H]CHA binding showed no significant change in most brain areas after lesioning. On the other hand, a conspicuous decrease in [3H]PN200-110 binding was observed in the dorsolateral striatum of ipsilateral side 4 weeks post-lesion. Thereafter, the striatum of both the ipsilateral and contralateral sides showed a significant decrease in [3H]PN200-110 binding 8 weeks post-lesion. These results demonstrate that unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine into the medial forebrain bundle of rats can experimentally cause a significant increase in adenylyl cyclase binding sites in the striatum and substantia nigra, whereas no conspicuous change in adenosine A1 receptors is observed in these areas during post-lesion. In contrast, L-type calcium channels were progressively damaged in the striatum after unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine treatment. These findings suggest that adenylyl cyclase and calcium system may contribute to the degeneration processes of the dopaminergic neurones.
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