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Synapse. 2000 Sep 1;37(3):194-204.

Super-stereotypy I: enhancement of a complex movement sequence by systemic dopamine D1 agonists.

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Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1109, USA.


Peripheral administration of D1 dopamine agonists elicits grooming behavior from rodents. The present study examined grooming behavior and the relative probability and stereotypy of a natural sequence of grooming movements (called a syntactic grooming chain) that follows a predictable fixed pattern of serial order. We compared the amount of grooming behavior vs. the stereotypy of sequential patterns after peripheral administration of either a partial D1 agonist (SKF 38393; 2.5, 5.0, 10, 20 mg/kg), a full D1 agonist (SKF 82958; 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0 mg/kg; i.p.), a D2 agonist (quinpirole; 5.0, 10 mg/kg), or ACTH (2.0, 5.0 mg/kg). There was a dissociation between the elicited grooming amount, the pattern frequency, and the pattern completion or sequential stereotypy after these drugs. Quinpirole and ACTH both reduced the likelihood that the sequential pattern would be completed in the normal pattern (and reduced the overall amount of grooming). Administration of either SKF 38393 or SKF 82958 increased the tendency to engage in complex stereotyped sequential patterns of grooming (even though only the partial D1 agonist increased the total amount of grooming). In addition, SKF 38393 increased the sequential stereotypy of the already-stereotyped pattern itself (as measured by the probability of completing the stereotyped sequence once it began). Thus, dopamine D1 receptor activation appears to contribute to a kind of sequential super-stereotypy in which a complex, stereotyped behavioral sequence is initiated more frequently and more often goes to completion.

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