Intravenous levodopa administration in humans based on a two-compartment kinetic model

Mollie Gordon, Joanne Markham, Johanna M. Hartlein, Jonathan M. Koller, Susan Loftin, Kevin J. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Levodopa, when combined with a decarboxylase inhibitor, essentially delivers dopamine directly to the brain, with no net effect on brain blood vessels. For future neuroimaging studies of Parkinson disease and Tourette syndrome, we sought to rapidly produce a biologically relevant levodopa concentration in plasma and then maintain that concentration long enough to assess motor, cognitive, emotional, and neuroimaging responses, while minimizing side effects in levodopa-naive individuals. Based on available pharmacokinetic data and a two-compartment model, we designed a decreasing-exponential-rate infusion to meet these goals. This report gives results of double-blind levodopa and placebo infusions in six healthy subjects. Mean plasma levodopa concentrations were within 3% of their 1200 ng/mL target at 20 and 40 min into the infusion, and within 20% between ∼12 and 90 min. Levodopa significantly reduced serum prolactin and raised serum growth hormone concentrations. Volunteers had no significant side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-307
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 30 2007


  • Carbidopa
  • Chromatography
  • Growth hormone
  • Human
  • Intravenous
  • Levodopa/pharmacokinetics
  • Parkinson disease
  • Prolactin
  • Tourette syndrome

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