Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized
by motor symptoms related to the deficiency in dopamine levels, and cognitive symptoms that
are similar in nature to those manifested during Alzheimer’s disease. Levosimendan, on the other hand, is
a calcium sensitizer and phosphodiesterase inhibitor that was shown to possess neuroprotective, memoryenhancing,
and anti-apoptotic properties.
Objective: In the current study, the possible protective effect of levosimendan was investigated in two
animal models of Parkinson’s disease.
Methods: Both intracerebral injection 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) and the direct injection of
lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the substantia nigra were used as models to induce Parkinson’s-like behavior.
Levosimendan (12 μg/kg intraperitoneally once weekly) was started 7 days before or 2 days after
lesioning of the animals. At day 14 post-lesioning, animals were subjected to apomorphine challenge,
which was correlated with dopamine levels in the striatum and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive nigral
Results: Results showed that levosimendan restored the number of rotations in the apomorphine challenge
test, the levels of dopamine in the striatum, and the TH-positive nigral cells when administered
7 days before, but not two days after 6-OHDA lesioning. In the LPS model of PD, the number of rotations
in the apomorphine challenge test, the levels of dopamine in the striatum, and the TH-positive nigral
cells were restored when levosimendan was administered 7 days before as well as two days after lesioning.
Conclusion: Levosimendan seems to provide a promising agent with potential clinical value for PD.