The precise mechanism of action of apomorphine as a treatment for Parkinson's disease is unknown, although it is believed to be due to stimulation of post-synaptic dopamine D2-type receptors within the brain. Apomorphine has been shown to improve motor function in an animal model of Parkinson's disease. In particular, apomorphine attenuates the motor deficits induced by lesions in the ascending nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway with the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) in primates.
Apomorphine is a type of dopaminergic agonist, a morphine derivative which primarily affects the hypothalamic region of the brain. Drugs containing this substance are sometimes used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease or erectile dysfunction. In higher doses it is a highly effective emetic.
LD50=0.6 mmoles/kg (mice, intraperitoneal)