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Behav Pharmacol. 2005 Dec;16(8):621-6.

Subchronic intermittent caffeine administration to unilaterally 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats sensitizes turning behaviour in response to dopamine D(1) but not D(2) receptor agonists.

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Department of Toxicology and Centre of Excellence for Neurobiology of Dependence, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.


The effects of caffeine, an antagonist of adenosine A(1) and A(2A) receptors, are significantly influenced by modifications in dopamine transmission. Administration of caffeine to unilaterally 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats induces ipsilateral turning behaviour in rats never exposed to a dopamine receptor agonist, whereas contralateral turning is elicited if rats are repeatedly primed with a dopamine receptor agonist. In this study, rats unilaterally lesioned with 6-hydroxydopamine and subchronically treated with an intermittent administration of caffeine (15 mg/kg) or vehicle, were administered, 3 days after discontinuations of the treatment, with the dopamine D(1) receptor agonist 1-phenyl 1,2,3,4,5-tetrahydro(1H)-3-benzazepine-7,8-diolhydrochloride (SKF 38393), the D(2)/D(3) receptor agonist quinpirole, the D(2) receptor agonist R(-)-propylnorapomorphine or the dopamine precursor L-3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-alanine. Administration of SKF 38393 (1.5 mg/kg) or L-3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-alanine (6 mg/kg), but not quinpirole (0.15 mg/kg) or R(-)-propylnorapomorphine (0.01 mg/kg), induced a significantly higher contralateral turning behaviour in rats subchronically treated with caffeine than in vehicle-pretreated rats. The results show that repeated intermittent caffeine exposure enhances the motor stimulant effects elicited by dopamine agonists by a preferential sensitization of dopamine D(1) receptors.

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