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Neurochem Res. 2010 Jan;35(1):22-32. doi: 10.1007/s11064-009-0026-5. Epub 2009 Jul 1.

Differential response of central dopaminergic system in acute and chronic unpredictable stress models in rats.

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Neuropharmacology Unit, Division of Pharmacology, Central Drug Research Institute, P.B. No. 173, Lucknow 226001, India.


We aimed to evaluate the response of dopaminergic system in acute stress (AS) and chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) by measuring dopamine (DA) levels, its receptor densities in the frontal cortex, striatum, hippocampus, amygdala and orbito-frontal cortex regions of rat brain, and investigated the corresponding behavioral locomotor changes. Involvement of D(1) receptor was also examined during AS and CUS using A 68930, a D(1) selective agonist. Rats were exposed to AS (single immobilization for 150 min) and CUS (two different stressors for 7 days). AS significantly decreased the DA levels in the striatum and hippocampus, and A 68930 pretreatment significantly reverted these changes. However, in the frontal cortex significantly increased DA levels were remain unchanged following A 68930. CUS led to a decrease of DA levels in the frontal cortex, striatum and hippocampus, which were normalized by A 68930. Saturation radioligand binding assays revealed a significant decrease in the number of D(1)-like receptors in the frontal cortex during CUS, which were further decreased by A 68930 pretreatment. However, in the striatum and hippocampus, A 68930 pretreatment reduced the CUS induced increase in the number of D(1)-like receptors. No significant changes were observed in the amygdala and orbito-frontal cortex during AS and CUS, while D(2)-like receptors were unchanged in all the brain regions studied. Locomotor activity was significantly decreased in both the stress models, A 68930 pretreatment significantly increased stereotypic counts and horizontal activity. Thus, present investigation provide insights into the differential regional response of dopaminergic system during AS and CUS. Further, neurochemical and behavioral effects of D(1) agonist pretreatment suggest specific modulatory role of D(1) receptor under such stressful episodes.

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