(-)-Trans 9,10-hydroxy-2-propyl-4,5,5a,6,7,11b-hexahydro-3-thia-5- azacyclopent-1-ena[c]phenanthrene hydrochloride (A-86929) is a potent and selective full agonist at the dopamine (DA) D1-like receptor. Judging by its binding affinities to the D1 and D2 classes of receptors, the compound is approximately 20-fold D1 receptor-selective, whereas relative potencies based on functional in vitro assays indicate that A-86929 is greater than 400-fold D1-selective. A-86929 has moderate to weak (Ki > 1 microM) affinity at other monoaminergic and peptidergic receptors, at ion channels and at monoamine uptake sites. The catechol of A-86929 was bis-acetylated to produce the prodrug, (-)-trans 9,10-acetoxy-2-propyl-4,5,5a,6,7,11-b-hexahydro-3-thia- 5-azacyclopent-1-ena[c]phenanthrene hydrochloride (ABT-431), which is more chemically stable yet is rapidly converted to the parent compound with a half-life of less than 1 min in plasma. Both A-86929 and ABT-431 produced contralateral rotation in rats bearing unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesions, with ED50 values of 0.24 mumol/kg s.c. and 0.54 mumol/kg s.c., respectively. A-86929 and ABT-431 improved behavioral disability scores and increased locomotor activity in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-lesioned marmoset model of Parkinson's disease in a dose-dependent manner (the minimum effective dose was 0.10 mumol/kg s.c.). When administered three times daily for 30 consecutive days to 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-lesioned marmosets, A-86929 significantly improved disability scores throughout the duration of the study. Current Parkinson's disease therapy includes L-dopa, which stimulates both classes of DA receptors by virtue of its conversion to DA in vivo, and direct-acting D2-selective agonists. Stimulation of the D2 receptor, which is associated with all current DA agonist-based therapies, may contribute to their dose-limiting side effects. An agent such as A-86929 (or its prodrug ABT-431), which selectively stimulates the D1 receptor, may represent a novel mechanism for Parkinson's disease therapy with the potential for an improved side-effect profile and, consequently, improved patient compliance.