We have recently observed that the corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRF) related peptide urocortin (UCN) reverses key features of nigrostriatal damage in the hemiparkinsonian 6-hydroxydopamine lesioned rat. Here we have studied whether similar effects are also evident in the lipopolysaccaride (LPS) neuroinflammatory paradigm of Parkinson's disease (PD). To do this we have measured restoration of normal motor behaviour, retention of nigral dopamine (DA) and also tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) activity. Fourteen days following intranigral injections of LPS and UCN, rats showed only modest circling after DA receptor stimulation with apomorphine, in contrast to those given LPS and vehicle where circling was pronounced. In separate experiments, rats received UCN seven days following LPS, and here apomorphine challenge caused near identical circling intensity to those that received LPS and UCN concomitantly. In a similar and consistent manner with the preservation of motor function, UCN 'protected' the nigra from both DA depletion and loss of TH activity, indicating preservation of DA cells. The effects of UCN were antagonised by the non-selective CRF receptor antagonist α-helical CRF and were not replicated by the selective CRF2 ligand UCN III. This suggests that UCN is acting via CRF1 receptors, which have been shown to be anti-inflammatory in the periphery. Our data therefore indicate that UCN is capable of maintaining adequate nigrostriatal function in vivo, via CRF1 receptors following a neuro-inflammatory challenge. This has potential therapeutic implications in PD.