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Concept: Ropinirole


Beyond the cardinal motor symptoms, bradykinesia, rigidity, tremor and postural instability, defining the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, there is a big spectrum of non-motor features that patients may suffer from and that may reduce their quality of life. Non-motor symptoms are not only frequent but also often under-reported by patients and caregivers. As they are frequently under-recognized by clinicians, they remain consequently under-treated. This review wants to give a short overview of the importance of non-motor symptoms on patients' quality of life and helpful assessment tools that might facilitate recognition of non-motor features during clinical setting. Given the wide range of non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease, we concentrate on common issues such as depression and sleep disorders like sleep-onset insomnia or sleep maintenance insomnia and restless legs syndrome. Thereby, we present some recent studies that have investigated the efficacy of dopaminergic drugs, especially dopamine agonists, revealing possible treatment strategies and thus improving disease management.

Concepts: Substantia nigra, Haloperidol, Dopamine agonist, Restless legs syndrome, Ropinirole, Pramipexole, Dopamine, Parkinson's disease


The cutaneous silent period (CSP) is a spinal inhibitory reflex primarily mediated by A-delta fibers. Prolonged CSPs have been reported in patients with restless legs syndrome (RLS) and idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD). Dopaminergic medication normalizes the CSP, concurring with the effect of levodopa on CSPs. To date, CSPs have not been extensively studied in patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA). The purpose of this study was to confirm abnormal CSP findings in a group of MSA patients and to affirm the lack of influence of levodopa on CSPs during long-term treatment.

Concepts: Parkinsonism, Multiple system atrophy, Neurotransmitter, Ropinirole, Pramipexole, Restless legs syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Dopamine


Despite the prominent loss of motor skills, artistic capacities remain preserved in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Furthermore, artistic creativity may emerge in art-naïve PD patients treated with levodopa and dopamine agonists. The present review discusses reported PD patients who developed enhanced artistic skills under anti-Parkinsonian therapy and the course of this phenomenon in the clinical context. It is unclear whether creative drive is related to dopamine dysregulation, and the mechanisms remain speculative. The delineation of the particular constellation that enables this emergence in PD patients may shed light on the comprehension of the concept of creativity in general. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Creativity, Carbidopa, Ropinirole, Pramipexole, All rights reserved, Parkinson's disease, Neurotransmitter, Dopamine


Bipolar disorder is a severe mental disorder with prominent genetic etiologic factors. Dopaminergic dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of bipolar disorder, which suggests that the dopamine D3 receptor gene (DRD3) is a strong candidate gene. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene has been implicated in the etiology of bipolar disorder. We examined the association between the BDNF Val66Met and DRD3 Ser9Gly polymorphisms with two subtypes of bipolar disorder: bipolar-I and -II. Because BDNF regulates DRD3 expression (1), we also examined possible interactions between these genes.

Concepts: Gene, Nerve growth factor, Neurotrophin, Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, Schizophrenia, Ropinirole, Dopamine receptor, Dopamine receptor D3


Increased risk of heart valve disease during treatment with certain dopamine agonists, such as cabergoline, has been observed in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The same compound is used to treat hyperprolactinemia, but it is unknown whether this also associates with heart valve disease.

Concepts: Ropinirole, Pramipexole, Cohort study, Valvular heart disease, Prolactinoma, Parkinson's disease, Bromocriptine, Cabergoline


The use of dopamine agonists (DAs) has been associated with increased impulsivity and impulse control disorders in several diseases, including Parkinson’s disease. Such an effect of DAs on impulsivity has not been clearly characterized in hyperprolactinemic patients, where DAs are the mainstay of therapy. We studied the effects of DAs on impulsivity in hyperprolactinemic patients treated at a tertiary pituitary center, using validated psychometric tests. Cross-sectional study. Impulsivity was evaluated in 30 subjects, 10 hyperprolactinemic patients on DAs compared to two control groups; one comprising untreated hyperprolactinemic patients (n = 10) and a second group consisting of normoprolactinemic controls with pituitary lesions (n = 10). Measures of impulsivity included both self-report questionnaires as well as laboratory-based tasks. Hyperprolactinemic patients on DAs had a higher score (mean ± SD) in one self-report measure of impulsivity, the attention subscale of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (16.2 ± 2.7), as compared to the hyperprolactinemic control group (12.3 ± 2.5) and the normoprolactinemic group (14.7 ± 4.4) (p = 0.04). No statistically significant difference was found between groups with regards to the other impulsivity scales. In the DA-treated group, a correlation was observed between increased impulsivity (as assessed in the Experiential Discounting Task) and higher weekly cabergoline dose (r(2) = 0.49, p = 0.04). The use of DAs in hyperprolactinemic patients is associated with an increase in one aspect of impulsivity. This effect should be further characterized in larger, longitudinal studies.

Concepts: Parkinson's disease, Ropinirole, Pramipexole, Cabergoline, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Scientific method, Prolactinoma, Statistical significance


A central problem in understanding the dopamine system in anxiety and depression is to specify functions of different members of the dopamine receptor family. Recent studies have reported that the dopamine D2/D3 receptor agonist pramipexole exerts an antidepressant-like effect in the chronic mild stress model and in the behavioral despair model, suggesting dopamine D3 receptor may be an important target for antidepressant actions. The aim of the present study was to examine the role of dopamine D3 receptor on the anxiety-like and depression-like behaviors induced by immobilization stress. We subjected D3 receptor knockout (D3KO) mice to a series of behavioral paradigms after acute (1hour) or chronic (1hour a day for at lest 14 days) immobilization stress. The results showed that immobilization stress significantly altered the anxiety-like behaviors (open field test and elevated plus maze) and depression-like behaviors (tail suspension test) in both D3KO mice and their wild-type littermates. Moreover, further analysis of the data indicated that the D3KO mice, but not their littermates, failed to show a change in immobility time in the tail suspension test after the acute and chronic stress as compared to intact controls, suggesting an increased resistance to the immobilization stress given before behavioral tests. Although our study did not suggest a significant role of D3 receptor in regulating basal anxiety-like and depression-like behaviors, it demonstrated the mice lacking D3 receptor might be more resistant to stressful procedure than their WT littermates.

Concepts: Psychology, Anxiety, Agonist, Serotonin, Dopamine, Ropinirole, Dopamine receptor D3, Dopamine receptor


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is commonly treated with the dopamine agonists pramipexole, and rotigotine, which target the inhibitory dopamine receptor subtype D3R. While initially highly effective, these compounds lose their efficacy in treating RLS over time, and long-term therapy regularly leads to a worsening of the symptoms (augmentation). This dopamine agonist-induced augmentation has become a prime concern in the treatment of RLS, and while alternate therapies are being proposed, the mechanisms leading to augmentation remain opaque. Evidence suggests that the prolonged D3R treatment may lead to a hyper-dopaminergic state and involve the excitatory dopamine D1 receptor (D1R) subtype. We here present an animal model in which we can test acute and long-term effects of dopamine D3R agonists in a behavior setting relevant to RLS and in which we can induce a switch of the drug effect similar to the one observed in RLS patients under chronic therapy. We also present evidence that we can reverse this long-term effect by blocking the D1R. Together, data from our new animal model indicate that the mechanisms leading to augmentation in RLS patients after long-term use of the currently used dopamine receptor agonists may be related to a D3R-induced upregulation of the D1R system. As such, our model can be used to assess the interactions between D3R and D1R and unravel the mechanisms that lead to augmentation, and it has the potential to serve as a Launchpad for the development of new pharmacological strategies for the treatment of both RLS and augmentation.

Concepts: Dopamine receptor D3, Dopamine receptor D1, G protein coupled receptors, Pramipexole, Dopamine agonist, Ropinirole, Restless legs syndrome, Dopamine receptor


Severe impulse control disorders involving pathological gambling, hypersexuality, and compulsive shopping have been reported in association with the use of dopamine receptor agonist drugs in case series and retrospective patient surveys. These agents are used to treat Parkinson disease, restless leg syndrome, and hyperprolactinemia.

Concepts: Agonist, Addiction, Antipsychotic, Dopamine receptor, Ropinirole, Pramipexole, Dopamine, Restless legs syndrome


Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are commonly managed using selective dopamine D2/3 receptor agonists, including ropinirole. While D2/3 agonists are useful in early-stage Parkinson’s, they tend to lose efficacy in later disease stages and do not appear to modify disease progression. We have recently developed a novel “multifunctional” compound, D-512: a high-affinity D2/3 receptor agonist with antioxidant and other neuroprotective properties that may limit Parkinson’s disease progression. This study sought to compare the anti-Parkinsonian properties of the clinically employed compound, ropinirole, to the novel compound, D-512.

Concepts: Receptor antagonist, Serotonin, Ropinirole, Dopamine receptor, Agonist, Parkinson's disease