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Behav Pharmacol. 2006 Mar;17(2):101-6.

Dopamine D3 receptor antisense oligodeoxynucleotide potentiates imipramine-induced dopaminergic behavioural supersensitivity.

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  • 1Department of Drug Sciences, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy.


Chronic antidepressant treatments result in the potentiation of dopaminergic transmission in the mesolimbic dopamine system revealed as an increased motor response to dopamine D2-like agonists. On the basis of the involvement of this system in the control of motivation and reward-related behaviour, which are impaired in depression, it has been suggested that such supersensitivity might play an important role in the mechanism of action of these drugs. Several studies have provided evidence suggesting a role of dopamine D3 receptors in mediating antidepressant-induced increased motor response to dopamine agonists. To test this hypothesis, we studied the effect of the intracerebroventricular infusion of a dopamine D3 receptor antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (10 microg/3 microl, 2-3 daily injections) on the expression of imipramine-induced supersensitivity (20 mg/kg daily intraperitoneal injections for 21 days) to the motor effect of the dopamine D2-like receptor agonist quinpirole (a single 0.3 mg/kg subcutaneous injection 24-48 h after imipramine withdrawal). The results show that a treatment previously shown to reduce the synthesis of dopamine D3 receptors, rather than resulting in an inhibitory effect, potentiated the ability of imipramine to induce dopaminergic motor supersensitivity. The present results suggest that increased dopamine D3 receptor expression following antidepressant treatments is not involved in the mechanism of dopaminergic supersensitivity, and are consistent with evidence supporting an inhibitory role for dopamine D3 receptors in motor activity, both in normal and in sensitized subjects.

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