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Peptides. 2010 May;31(5):926-31. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2010.02.006. Epub 2010 Feb 13.

Microinjection of neuropeptide S into the rat ventral tegmental area induces hyperactivity and increases extracellular levels of dopamine metabolites in the nucleus accumbens shell.

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  • 1Division of Bio-Information Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Toyama, 3190 Gofuku, Toyama 930-8555, Japan.


The newly identified neuropeptide S (NPS) is mainly expressed in a group of neurons located between the locus coeruleus and Barrington's nucleus in the brainstem. Central administration of NPS increases motor activity and wakefulness, and it decreases anxiety-like behavior and feeding. The NPS receptor (NPSR) is widely distributed in various brain regions including the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The mesolimbic dopaminergic system originates in the VTA, and activation of the system produces hypermotor activity. Therefore, we hypothesized that NPS-induced hypermotor activity might be mediated by activation of the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway via the NPSR expressed in the VTA. Intra-VTA injection of NPS significantly and dose-dependently increased horizontal and vertical motor activity in rats, and the hyperactivity was significantly and dose-dependently inhibited by pre-administration of sulpiride, a DA D(2)-like receptor antagonist, into the shell of the nucleus accumbens (NAcSh). Intra-VTA injection of NPS also significantly increased extracellular 3,4-dihydroxy-phenyl acetic acid and homovanillic acid levels in the NAcSh of freely moving rats. These results support the idea that NPS activates the mesolimbic dopaminergic system presumably via the NPSR located in the VTA, thereby stimulating motor activity.

Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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