Harris-lab harris-lab at
Mon Mar 6 11:55:01 EST 1995

In article <3jdtmj$p0q at>, lisao at (Lisa Olson) says:
>Hi all ..
>I just had a quick question for all you pros out there ..
>If Parkinson's is caused by degeneration of certain 
>dopaminergic neurons, and L-Dopa is given as a treatment ..
>why isn't cocaine being used as a treatment as well or
>as an alternative if cocaine prevents the reuptake of
>dopamine.  Wouldn't cocaine and L-Dopa cause the same

Lisa, you actually answered your own question when you mentioned the
"degeneration of certain dopaminergic neurons".  In Parkinson's disease
there is a dying out of the dopaminergic cells projecting from the 
substantia nigra to the striatum.  If you have progressively fewer cell
terminals releasing dopamine over time, then blocking the uptake of what
little dopamine is released probably won't do that much.  I think that,
as long as there are a fair number of dopaminergic terminals in the striatum, 
that cocaine might work, in theory.  However, when L-dopa works as well as it
does, why play around with a much more dangerous drug.  It's like undergoing
general anesthesia to get rid of a headache.  You won't feel the pain, but
it's overkill.


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