Last Revised: January 18, 2022

Procedures for Working with 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) or MPTP-Treated Animals

MPTP is a potent neurotoxin known to produce severe irreversible brain damage similar to Parkinson’s disease.  Exposure to the drug through inhalation, dermal contact and injection is hazardous.  The bedding and cages of animals exposed to MPTP will be contaminated and must be handed as chemical waste.

Handling of MPTP salt and solution in the lab

  • Review proposed handling procedures with EHRS before working with the chemical. 
  • Do not purchase the free base form of MPTP as it is volatile.
  • Wear appropriate barrier protection such as a lab coat with disposable arm covers or a disposable lab coat.
  • Wear Safety glasses or goggles.
  • Avoid all skin contact with MPTP.  Treat all containers as contaminated.  Handle chemical container with gloves.  Wear two sets of disposable nitrile gloves (4 mil minimum).
  • Only handle the dry salt and concentrated solution in the lab.
  • Do not weigh the salt.  Dilute the entire mass of the chemical in the volume of solution required to achieve the needed concentration.
  • Handle MPTP in a class II type B2 biosafety cabinet or fume hood over a disposable work surface.
  • Change outer gloves after initial transfer of the salt.
  • Use a 10% bleach solution for cleaning (15 minute contact for a clean surface) followed by a water rinse to decontaminate work surfaces.
  • Store solutions in labeled, screw-capped containers.  The container must be labeled MPTP  Danger Acutely Toxic.  Store the primary container of MPTP in a leak-proof, plastic secondary container.  Store in a Designated Area.
  • Wash hands immediately after removing inner pair of gloves.  Re-glove if needed.
  • Collect all disposable materials (gloves, work surface) in a wide-mouth container (provided by EHRS) for waste disposal.
  • Soak empty reagent container and any glassware with 10% bleach solution for 60 minutes.  Use disposable labware.

MPTP use in ULAR facilities 

The Principal Investigator must meet with the ULAR facility manager prior to the treatment of any animals with MPTP.  ULAR staff are not permitted to handle animals or clean/change cages of animals treated with MPTP until 72 hours have elapsed after injection and they are transferred by lab staff to a reusable cage.  It is the responsibility of the facility manager and the Principal Investigator to determine how animal care will be accomplished by laboratory staff until the cage is changed 72 hours post injection. 

  • House animals in disposable cages.  Dispose of cage and bedding 72 hours after last injection with MPTP.  Animal care may be returned to ULAR staff after this cage change.
  • The cage and bedding will be bagged and placed into a fiberboard drum for disposal as chemical waste.
  • Follow gloving procedure described previously.
  • Wear a disposal lab coat over ULAR provided attire when working with MPTP.
  • All work with MPTP must be conducted in a class II type B2 biosafety cabinet or fume hood over a disposable work surface.
  • Use a 10% bleach solution (15 minute contact for a clean surface) for cleaning followed by a water rinse to decontaminate work surfaces.
  • Consider using safe needle devices for injections.  Where feasible restrain animals (mechanically or with anesthesia) for injections.  Do not hand-hold animals for injections of MPTP unless wearing puncture resistant gloves. 
  • Discharge air from filled syringes into gauze pad or other absorbent material.  Saturate gauze with 10% bleach after use.  Dispose of as chemical waste.
  • Sharps contaminated with MPTP must be placed directly into a puncture resistant container provided by EHRS for disposal as chemical waste.  Do not autoclave anything that has contacted MPTP solutions.
  • Collect all disposable materials (gloves, work surface, disposable lab coat ) in a wide-mouth container (provided by EHRS)  for waste disposal.


Emergency Contacts

General emergency response information can be found at Emergency Info


General procedures for chemicals spill response can be found in Section X: Chemical Spills in this CHP.

Do not hesitate to call EHRS for assistance with spill cleanup for Acutely Toxic Materials

24 hours: 215-898-4453

Contact Penn Police (511) only if the spill involves a fire, imminent risk of fire, an injury requiring an ambulance, or if there is a hazard that may affect others in the building.