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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1994 Aug;115(4):454-62.

Reversal of stress-induced anhedonia by the dopamine receptor agonist, pramipexole.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, City of London Polytechnic, UK.


Chronic exposure to mild unpredictable stress has previously been found to depress the consumption of a palatable (1%) sucrose solution, and to attenuate food-induced place preference conditioning. In this study the effects of pramipexole (SND-919), a dopamine D2 agonist, were studied during 7-9 weeks of chronic treatment. Pramipexole (1.0 mg/kg per day) reversed the suppression of sucrose intake in stressed animals, increasing sucrose intakes above the levels seen in untreated nonstressed controls. Pramipexole also increased sucrose intake in nonstressed animals; these effects were accompanied by increases in water intake and tended to correlate with weight loss. Drug-treated stressed animals also lost weight, but in this case water intake was unaffected. A second group of animals received a higher dose of pramipexole (2.0 mg/kg per day). The effects of the two doses were very similar. After three weeks of treatment, these animals were switched to a lower dose of pramipexole (0.1 mg/kg per day). Increases in sucrose intake were maintained over three weeks of treatment at the lower dose, with significant recovery of body weight. Two further groups received the same doses of pramipexole (1.0 mg/kg for 6 weeks or 2.0 mg/kg for 3 weeks followed by 0.1 mg/kg thereafter), but received intermittent (twice-weekly) drug treatment. Intermittent pramipexole treatments also tended to increase sucrose intakes, but the results were less consistent from week to week. Following 6-8 weeks of pramipexole treatment, food-induced place preference conditioning was studied in all animals.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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