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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1995 Aug;51(4):861-7.

Reversal of 6HD-induced neonatal brain catecholamine depletion after operant training.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, University of Kansas, Lawrence 66045-2505, USA.


Rats received either vehicle (controls) or 100 micrograms of 6-hydroxydopamine (6HD) base intracisternally on postnatal day 5. At 3 mo of age, striatal and cortical catecholamine and metabolite levels were determined in some animals. Others were subjected to 4.5 mo of training on incrementally more difficult fixed-ratio (FR) discriminations; 2 mo later, their levels were determined. Learning was essentially unaffected by 6HD even though errors in all animals increased with increases in discrimination difficulty and 6HD had markedly depleted levels in the 3-mo-old animals. Moreover, an initial response-rate deficit in 6HD-treated rats disappeared with training. However, after training, levels in 6HD-treated rats were not only not depleted, they were as much as 661% of those in controls. These and others of our findings indicate that FR discrimination training can induce persistent increases in brain catecholamine utilization. They also appear to be the first to suggest that at least some neurochemical effects of neonatal 6HD are not necessarily irreversible, and that such a reversal can be experientially induced and possibly functionally beneficial.

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