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Brain Res. 1998 Jan 5;780(1):56-66.

Fixed-ratio discrimination training as replacement therapy in Parkinson's disease: studies in a 6-hydroxydopamine-treated rat model.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, School of Pharmacy, University of Kansas, Lawrence 66045-2505, USA.


Severe 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced neostriatal dopamine (DA) depletion is generally held to be irreversible. Adult rats administered 6-OHDA soon after weaning, or neonatally, respectively model Parkinson's disease (PD) and Lesch-Nyhan syndrome (LNS). Prior studies in our laboratory indicate that prolonged training on incrementally more difficult fixed-ratio (FR) discriminations can reverse 'irreversible' 6-OHDA-induced neostriatal DA depletion in adult LNS rats. The present study evaluated the effects of such training on neostriatal DA depletion and its functional consequences in adult PD and control (vehicle-injected) rats. After recovery from 6-OHDA-induced hypophagia, rats were sacrificed to assess neostriatal DA depletion magnitude, or were food-deprived and either subjected to food-maintained operant FR discrimination training or allowed to remain in their home cages. 6-OHDA treatment antagonized amphetamine (AMP)-induced increases in brief rearing behavior and locomotor activity in 3-month-old PD rats prior to training, and reduced operant response rates throughout training without affecting learning rates. One week after training, AMP-increased locomotor and brief-rearing frequencies were augmented in all groups except trained controls, and the prior inhibitory effect of 6-OHDA treatment on AMP-increased behavioral frequencies was essentially eliminated. Cumulative apomorphine (APO) dose-effect curve (0.1-3.2 mg/kg) construction 3 weeks post-training revealed that 6-OHDA treatment abolished APO-induced intense licking behavior. However, training eliminated the hyperresponsiveness of 6-OHDA-treated rats to the locomotor- and brief-rearing stimulant effects of APO but did not affect the depletion of neostriatal DA. Nevertheless, 6-OHDA-induced increases in neostriatal DOPAC/DA and HVA/DA ratios were normalized by age/food-deprivation while that of 3MT/DA was not. These findings suggest that training reduces the functional responsiveness of at least some central DA receptors, FR discrimination training could be a useful adjunct to PD replacement therapy and that the neostriatal DA-repleting action of training in 6-OHDA-treated rats depend on the age at which 6-OHDA is administered.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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