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The effect of chronic bromocriptine and L-dopa on spiperone binding and apomorphine-induced stereotypy.


Chronic treatment with dopamine (DA) agonists has been reported in various paradigms to cause supersensitivity of DA receptors or, contradictorily, subsensitivity of DA receptors. The present study administered 15 mg/kg bromocriptine for 7 days and measured both striatal spiperone binding and apomorphine (AP)-induced stereotypy. A significant decrease in AP-induced stereotypies was observed after chronic bromocriptine treatment, but without a significant parallel decrease in striatal spiperone binding. These results probably do not represent a true agonist-induced subsensitivity, but possibly show that residual bromocriptine in vivo may antagonize AP-induced stereotypy. Since some reports have suggested that L-Dopa may specifically reverse the increases in DA receptor number induced by chronic haloperidol, we also studied the effect of 7 days of L-Dopa treatment after 6-week chronic haloperidol treatment of mice. While chronic haloperidol significantly increased striatal spiperone binding, subsequent L-Dopa treatment did not reverse this biochemical supersensitivity. It is concluded that agonist induction of subsensitivity in the DA system is difficult to reproduce and may depend on highly specific dosage conditions and treatment schedules.

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