Inhibition of phosphodiesterases rescues striatal long-term depression and reduces levodopa-induced dyskinesia

Barbara Picconi, Vincenza Bagetta, Veronica Ghiglieri, Vincent Paill, Massimiliano Di Filippo, Valentina Pendolino, Alessandro Tozzi, Carmela Giampá, Francesca R. Fusco, Carmelo Sgobio, Paolo Calabresi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the role of the nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate pathway in corticostriatal long-term depression induction in a model of levodopa-induced dyskinesia in experimental parkinsonism. Moreover, we have also analysed the possibility of targeting striatal phosphodiesterases to reduce levodopa-induced dyskinesia. To study synaptic plasticity in sham-operated rats and in 6-hydroxydopamine lesioned animals chronically treated with therapeutic doses of levodopa, recordings from striatal spiny neurons were taken using either intracellular recordings with sharp electrodes or whole-cell patch clamp techniques. Behavioural analysis of levodopa-induced abnormal involuntary movements was performed before and after the treatment with two different inhibitors of phosphodiesterases, zaprinast and UK-343664. Levodopa-induced dyskinesia was associated with the loss of long-term depression expression at glutamatergic striatal synapses onto spiny neurons. Both zaprinast and UK-343664 were able to rescue the induction of this form of synaptic plasticity via a mechanism requiring the modulation of intracellular cyclic guanosine monophosphate levels. This effect on synaptic plasticity was paralleled by a significant reduction of abnormal movements following intrastriatal injection of phosphodiesterase inhibitors. Our findings suggest that drugs selectively targeting phosphodiesterases can ameliorate levodopa-induced dyskinesia, possibly by restoring physiological synaptic plasticity in the striatum. Future studies exploring the possible therapeutic effects of phosphodiesterase inhibitors in non-human primate models of Parkinson's disease and the involvement of striatal synaptic plasticity in these effects remain necessary to validate this hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-387
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • dyskinesia
  • long-term depression
  • Parkinson's disease
  • phosphodiesterases
  • synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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