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Neuroscience. 2005;133(1):315-26. Epub 2005 Apr 22.

Mapping the effects of the selective dopamine D2/D3 receptor agonist quinelorane using pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging.

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Neuroimaging Research Group, Institute of Psychiatry, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK.


Dopamine agonists with a high affinity for D2 and D3 receptors have a biphasic effect on rodent locomotion, inducing hypolocomotion at low doses and hyperlocomotion at higher doses. Controversy surrounds the role of the D3 receptor in mediating the hypolocomotor response to low agonist doses. This study examines patterns of neuronal activation induced by varying doses of the D2/D3 receptor agonist quinelorane using blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI), and compares them with corresponding behavioural responses. Quinelorane (3 microg/kg) induced hypolocomotion in rats naive to the testing environment, and in phMRI experiments increased neuronal activity within the anterior olfactory nuclei, nucleus accumbens and islets of Calleja, regions containing a high density of D3 receptors. A 30 microg/kg dose of quinelorane resulted in biphasic locomotor effects, with initial hypolocomotion followed by sustained hyperlocomotion. phMRI indicated that this higher dose increased cerebral activity within limbic and olfactory regions, as did the lower drug dose, but induced additional activation in the caudate-putamen and globus pallidus, areas dense in D2 receptors but containing few D3 receptors. The more restricted pattern of activation at low agonist doses and close temporal relationship between behavioural and BOLD signal responses to quinelorane suggest that those nuclei most dense in D3 receptors play a key role in mediating the hypolocomotor effects of quinelorane. However, the presence of D3 receptors in activated brain regions may be coincidental, and further studies are required to show definitively which class of receptors mediates agonist-induced hypolocomotion. In contrast, the activation of D2 receptors within the striatum appears necessary for quinelorane-induced hyperlocomotion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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