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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1992;107(1):39-49.

Effects of acute dopamine depletion on responsiveness to D1 and D2 receptor agonists in infant and weanling rat pups.

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Department of Psychology, SUNY-Binghamton 13902-6000.


The behavioral responses to separate and combined administration of the D1 agonist SKF-38393 and the D2 agonist quinpirole following acute dopamine (DA) depletion via alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine (AMPT) or AMPT/reserpine were examined in infant (10-day-old) and weanling (21-day-old) rat pups. At both ages, AMPT pretreatment generally had little impact on D1- or D2-agonist-induced responding, whereas the greater DA depletion observed following AMPT/reserpine pretreatment was generally associated with suppression of both D1 and D2-agonist-typical responding. Thus, whereas in adult animals some degree of D1 receptor activation by endogenous dopamine appears to be necessary for D2 responding but not vice versa (e.g. White et al. 1988), in young animals there appears to be a reciprocal co-dependence of these two receptor subtypes, with extensive DA depletion suppressing responding to both agonists when administered separately. At 10 days of age, some D1 and D2 agonist-induced behaviors that were previously blocked by AMPT/reserpine were reinstated following combined administration of both agonists. In contrast, no clear evidence for reinstatement was seen following administration of the combined agonists to AMPT/reserpine-pretreated weanlings, perhaps due to the induction of potential competing behaviors. Whereas DA depletion blocked many D1- and D2-induced behaviors, such depletion conversely promoted the expression in agonist-treated animals of a number of behaviors that were not normally induced by the agonists in non-depleted animals. These behaviors typically involved an oral component and included grooming and mouthing following SKF-38393 in depleted 10-day-old pups, mouthing following administration of either agonist to depleted weanlings, and probing and intense self-mutilation (forepaw and tongue biting) following the combined agonists in depleted weanlings. This rapid induction of potentiated agonist responsiveness following acute DA depletion early in life may have significant implications with regard to animal models for the developmental disorder of Lesch-Nyhan syndrome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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