Dopamine agonists have been shown to possess neuroprotective properties in different in vitro and in vivo experimental Parkinson’s disease models, because their capability to counteract- neuronal cell death. Here we update the molecular evidence underlying the wide pharmacological spectrum of dopamine agonists currently used for treating Parkinson’s disease patients. In particular, the mechanism of action of different dopamine agonists does not always appear to be restricted to the stimulation of selective dopamine receptor subtypes since at least some of these drugs are endowed with antioxidant, antiapoptotic or neurotrophic properties. These activities are moleculespecific and may contribute to the clinical efficacy of these drugs for the treatment of chronic and progressive neurodegenerative diseases in which oxidative injury and/or protein misfolding and aggregation exert a primary role. However, despite increasing number of experimental results confirm their neuroprotective effects, further studies are needed to definitively confirm dopamine agonists as disease-modifying agents.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, amyolid fibril, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, apomorphine, bromocryptine, disease-modifying therapy, dopamine, dopamine receptor agonists, Free radicals, neurodegeneration, neurogenesis, neuroimaginig, neuroprotection, oxidative stress, Parkinson’s disease, pergolide, pramipexole, protein aggregation, ropinirole, rotigotine, α-synuclein.