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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1989 Dec;34(4):721-5.

Neurochemical effects of prenatal haloperidol exposure.

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Division of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, AR 72079.


The neurochemical effects of prenatal exposure to dopamine receptor antagonists are as yet poorly characterized. To further examine this problem, pregnant rats were given daily subcutaneous injections of vehicle, 2.5 or 5.0 mg/kg haloperidol over gestational days 6 through 20. Membrane binding of [3H]SCH-23390 (D1-specific) and [3H]spiroperidol (D2-specific in most brain areas) was measured in four regions of the cerebral dopamine system at postnatal day (PND) 30. Dopamine (DA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) levels were measured in caudate on PND 30 following a d-amphetamine challenge. Prenatal haloperidol exposure reduced [3H]SCH-23390 and [3H]spiroperidol binding in caudate in a dose-dependent manner. [3H]Spiroperidol binding was similarly reduced in nucleus accumbens, but only the low dose (2.5 mg/kg) group showed decreased [3H]SCH-23390 binding in this region. Binding of neither compound was significantly altered in amygdala or frontal cortex. Basal or drug-stimulated levels of caudate DA and DOPAC were unaltered. It is concluded that prenatal haloperidol exposure reduces D1 and D2 binding in some, but not all regions of the forebrain dopamine system.

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