Treatments based on pharmacological inhibition of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) have been suggested for a broad variety of human disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD). The neuroprotective effects underlying the efficacy of PARP-1 inhibitors in PD models suggest a role for PARP-1 in neurodegeneration. In this study, we assessed the efficacy of PARP-1 inhibition in two distinct PD models. First, we tested a panel of small molecule PARP-1 inhibitors in α-synuclein (aSyn) cytotoxicity assay, where we observed compound-dependent ameliorating effects. Next, we tested the same panel in primary ventral mesencephalic neuronal cultures, treated with MPP+. Dopaminergic neurons, the primary cells affected in PD, were selected and subjected to analysis. A significant ameliorating effect was achieved only with a highly potent PARP-1 inhibitor. Our data implicates aberrant PARP-1 function in different pathways of neurodegeneration. Further, our results suggest a rationale for the development of highly potent, bio-available, brain-penetrable PARP-1 inhibitors to provide therapeutic benefits for Parkinson's patients. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.