Rotenone has been reported to induce various degrees of Parkinsonism in rats. We tested whether advancing age alters the sensitivity of dopaminergic neurons to rotenone. A low, systemic dose of rotenone had no effect on young rats, but led to a 20-30% reduction of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons in the substantia nigra of older rats. The effect was specific to nigral dopaminergic neurons and may be associated with the increase of glial cell activation in older rats. These data suggest that age enhances the sensitivity of dopaminergic neurons to rotenone and should be considered when assessing models of Parkinson's disease.