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Neuroscience. 2008 Jun 26;154(3):965-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.04.009. Epub 2008 Apr 12.

Preferential relocation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor NR1 subunit in nucleus accumbens neurons that contain dopamine D1 receptors in rats showing an apomorphine-induced sensorimotor gating deficit.

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  • 1Division of Neurobiology, Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 411 East 69th Street KB-410, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Sensorimotor gating as measured by prepulse inhibition (PPI) to startle-evoking auditory stimulation (AS) is disrupted in schizophrenia and in rodents receiving systemic administration of apomorphine, a dopamine D1/D2 receptor agonist, or MK-801, an N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist. The functional analogies and our prior results showing apomorphine- and AS-induced relocation of the dopamine D1 receptor (D1R) in the nucleus accumbens (Acb) shell suggest that apomorphine and AS may affect the subcellular distribution of the NMDA receptor NR1 subunit, a protein that forms protein-protein interactions with the D1R. We quantitatively compared the electron microscopic immunogold labeling for NR1 in dendritic profiles distinguished with respect to presence of D1R immunoreactivity and location in the Acb shell or core of rats receiving a single s.c. injection of vehicle (VEH) or apomorphine (APO) alone, or combined with AS (VEH+AS, APO+AS). The rats in the APO+AS group were previously shown to have PPI deficits, whereas the rats in the VEH+AS group had normal PPI. A significantly higher percentage of plasmalemmal and a lower percentage of cytoplasmic NR1 immunogold particles were seen in D1R-labeled dendritic spines in the Acb shell of the APO+AS group compared with all other groups. D1R-containing small dendrites in the Acb shell of the APO+AS group also showed a significantly higher density of plasmalemmal and a lower density of cytoplasmic NR1 immunogold particles compared with VEH or APO groups. In the Acb core, the APO+AS group had significantly fewer dendritic spines co-expressing NR1 and D1R compared with VEH or VEH+AS groups. These results, together with our earlier findings, suggest that NMDA receptors are preferentially mobilized in D1R-containing Acb neurons of rats showing apomorphine-induced disruption of PPI in a paradigm using acoustic stimulation.

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