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J Neurosci. 2000 Nov 15;20(22):8305-14.

Dopamine D2 long receptor-deficient mice display alterations in striatum-dependent functions.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6084, USA.


The dopamine D2 receptor (D2) system has been implicated in several neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease. There are two isoforms of the D2 receptor: the long form (D2L) and the short form (D2S). The two isoforms are generated by alternative splicing of the same gene and differ only by 29 amino acids in their protein structures. Little is known about the distinct functions of either D2 isoform, primarily because selective pharmacological agents are not available. We generated D2L receptor-deficient (D2L-/-) mice by making a subtle mutation in the D2 gene. D2L-/- mice (which still express functional D2S) displayed reduced levels of locomotion and rearing behavior. Interestingly, haloperidol produced significantly less catalepsy and inhibition of locomotor activity in D2L-/- mice. These findings suggest that D2L and D2S may contribute differentially to the regulation of certain motor functions and to the induction of the extrapyramidal side effects associated with the use of typical antipsychotic drugs (e.g., haloperidol). Quinpirole induced a similar initial suppression of locomotor activity in both D2L-/- and wild-type mice. In addition, the D2S receptor in the mutant mice functioned approximately equally well as did D2L as an impulse-modulating autoreceptor. This suggests that the functions of these two isoforms are not dependent on the formation of receptor heterodimers. Our findings may provide novel information for potentially developing improved antipsychotic drugs.

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