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Neuroscience. 1994 Jul;61(1):81-91.

Oral stereotypy induced by amphetamine microinjection into striatum: an anatomical mapping study.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115.


The ventrolateral striatum has been shown to specifically contribute to expression of psychostimulant-induced orofacial stereotypies. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were implanted with bilateral cannulae directed at one of eight striatal subareas, and were injected with saline or amphetamine (20 micrograms/0.5 microliter/side) in a counterbalanced order. Behaviors were observed and scored using a time-sampling procedure. In the middle ventrolateral striatum, amphetamine injections produced intense stereotypy, primarily consisting of bar biting, non-injurious self-biting and repetitive paw-to-mouth movements, while having no effect on locomotion or rearing. Amphetamine injections 2 mm medial or 1 mm dorsal produced no oral stereotypy, while injections 1 mm rostral or caudal to the effective site produced only low levels of stereotypy. Injections into the surrounding sites, particularly in the ventromedial region, also had stimulatory effects on locomotion and rearing. In a separate experiment, animals were given either unilateral or bilateral injection of amphetamine into the ventrolateral striatum. The unilateral injection produced stereotypy half as intense as that observed with bilateral injections. These results suggest that the ventrolateral striatum is a discrete neuroanatomical region which is primarily responsible for expression of psychostimulant-induced orofacial stereotypies, and which is likely to be the striatal region controlling normal oral motor function. Further investigation of this area may provide valuable insights concerning the etiology and treatment of orofacial dyskinesias associated with basal ganglia dysfunction.

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