Digoxin prevents MPTP-induced dopamine depletion in mouse striatum

Steven W. Johnson, Stephen T. Gancher, William R. Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inhibition of Na+/K+ ATPase by cardiac glycosides has been shown to potentiate toxic effects of excitatory amino acids and mitochondrial poisons in neurons in vitro. The present study tested the hypothesis that the systemic administration of the cardiac glycoside, digoxin, potentiates effects of the dopamine neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,5,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) in vivo. Mice were injected with digoxin (1 mg/kg) or vehicle followed by MPTP (20 mg/kg) or saline 1 h later. After 1 or 8 days, mice were euthanized and dopamine levels in the striatum were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. MPTP caused a significant 35-45% reduction in striatal dopamine levels compared to those in control mice. However, pretreatment with digoxin completely prevented the MPTP-induced dopamine depletion. This result was unexpected and suggests that cardiac glycosides may protect against MPTP neurotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-415
Number of pages3
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1997


  • Cardiac glycoside
  • Na/K
  • Neuroprotection
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Sodium pump

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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