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Neuroscience. 2011 Jun 2;183:121-33. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.03.037. Epub 2011 Apr 2.

Importance of D1 and D2 receptors in the dorsal caudate-putamen for the locomotor activity and stereotyped behaviors of preweanling rats.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, California State University, San Bernardino, 5500 University Parkway, CA 92407, USA.


Dopaminergic compounds often affect the unlearned behaviors of preweanling and adult rats differently, although the brain regions underlying these age-dependent behavioral effects have not been specified. A candidate brain region is the dorsal caudate-putamen (CPu); thus, a goal of the present study was to determine whether D1 and D2 receptors in the dorsal CPu are capable of modulating the unlearned behaviors of preweanling rats. In Experiments 1 and 2, selective and nonselective dopamine agonists were bilaterally microinjected into the dorsal CPu on postnatal day (PD) 18 and both locomotor activity and stereotypy were measured. In Experiment 3, the functional coupling of D1 and D2 receptors was assessed by microinjecting the D1 agonist SKF-82958 and the D₂/D₃ agonist quinpirole either alone or in combination. In Experiments 4 and 5, quinpirole and the D1 receptor antagonist SCH-23390, or SKF-82958 and the D2 receptor antagonist raclopride, were co-administered into the dorsal CPu to further assess whether a functional D1 or D2 receptor system is necessary for the expression of quinpirole- or SKF-82958-induced behaviors. Results showed that selective stimulation of D1 or D2 receptors in the dorsal CPu increased both the locomotor activity and stereotypy of preweanling rats. Receptor coupling was evident on PD 18 because co-administration of a subthreshold dose of SKF-82958 and quinpirole produced more locomotor activity than either agonist alone. Lastly, the dopamine antagonist experiments showed that both D1 and D2 receptor systems must be functional for SKF-82958- or quinpirole-induced locomotor activity to be fully manifested. When the present data are compared to results from non-ontogenetic studies, it appears that pharmacological manipulation of D1 and D2 receptors in the dorsal CPu affects the behavior of preweanling and adult rats in a generally similar manner, although some important age-dependent differences are apparent. For example, D1 and/or D2 agonists preferentially induce locomotor activity, and not intense stereotypy, in younger animals.

Copyright © 2011 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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