Low and high dose bromocriptine have different effects on striatal dopamine release: An in vivo study

T. Brannan, J. Martínez-Tica, A. Di Rocco, M. D. Yahr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We wished to determine if low and high doses of bromocriptine produce distinct patterns of dopamine release and metabolism. Accordingly, we administered bromocriptine (0, 2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg, IP) to rats and monitored extracellular concentrations of dopamine and dopamine metabolites in the corpus striatum with the technique of cerebral microdialysis. Extracellular dopamine levels increased following administration of 2.5 and 5 mg/kg bromocriptine. In contrast, dopamine levels decreased following 10 mg/kg bromocriptine. Dopamine metabolite levels decreased 45 minutes following all doses of bromocriptine. Bromocriptine administration had no effect on the levels of 5HIAA, the major serotonin metabolite. These findings with high dose bromocriptine fit the predicted profile of a dopamine D2 receptor agonist. The delayed decrease in dopamine metabolites at all bromocriptine doses is consistent with the known dopamine synthesis inhibiting action of bromocriptine. In contrast, the increased dopamine release observed following low and medium doses of bromocriptine is not readily explainable by current theories of bromocriptine action which predict decreased dopamine release and therefore decreased striatal extracellular dopamine levels with both high and low-doses of bromocriptine. Our findings indicate that bromocriptine has a complex pharmacological action that extends beyond simple agonism at dopamine D2 receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-87
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission - Parkinson's Disease and Dementia Section
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Bromocriptine
  • Parkinson's disease
  • cerebral microdialysis
  • dopamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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