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Levodopa Therapy for Parkinson's Disease: History, Current Status and Perspectives

[ Vol. 19 , Issue. 8 ]

Author(s):

Helle Bogetofte, Arezo Alamyar, Morten Blaabjerg and Morten Meyer*   Pages 572 - 583 ( 12 )

Abstract:


Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a preferential degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. This results in a profound decrease of striatal dopamine (DA) levels, which in turn leads to the cardinal motor symptoms of PD; muscle rigidity, hypo- and bradykinesia and resting tremor. Even 50 years after its initial use, the DA precursor levodopa (L-dopa), is still the most effective medical therapy for the symptomatic treatment of PD. Long-term L-dopa treatment is however, unfortunately associated with undesirable side effects such as motor fluctuations and dyskinesias. Furthermore, despite the disease alleviating effects of L-dopa, it is still discussed whether L-dopa has a neurotoxic or neuroprotective effect on dopaminergic neurons. Here we review the history of L-dopa, including its discovery, development and current use in the treatment of PD. We furthermore review current evidence of the L-dopa-induced side effects and perspectives of L-dopa treatment in PD compared to other established treatments such as DA-agonists and the inhibitors of catechol-o-methyltransferase and monoamine oxidase B.

Keywords:

Dopamine, dopaminergic, substantia nigra, L-dopa, dyskinesia, Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

Affiliation:

Neurobiology Research, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Neurobiology Research, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Neurobiology Research, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Neurobiology Research, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Southern Denmark, Odense

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