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The behavioural effect of dopamine D1-like receptor agonists (SKF 38393, SKF 81297) and a D2-like receptor agonist (quinpirole), administered alone and in combination, was tested in rats pretreated with a single injection of an NMDA antagonist (MK-801, CPP) or vehicle. Agonist-induced behaviour was monitored by automated activity meters and direct observation using a checklist scoring method. Pretreatment with MK-801 (0.05 mg/kg, SC, 30 min) had no significant effect (compared to controls) on the behavioural response to SKF 38393 (7.5 mg/kg SC), SKF 81297 (0.2 mg/kg SC) or quinpirole (0.1 and 0.25 mg/kg SC) administered alone. In contrast, MK-801 markedly increased locomotion (activity counts and scores) induced by co-administration of a D1-like plus a D2-like agonist [SKF 38393 (7.5 mg/kg) plus quinpirole (0.25 mg/kg), SKF 81297 (0.2 mg/kg) plus quinpirole (0.1 mg/kg)]. The behavioural response to the non-selective dopamine agonist apomorphine (0.5 mg/kg SC) was also enhanced by MK-801. Pretreatment with CPP (0.1 mg/kg SC, 30 min) also significantly increased the locomotor response to co-administration of SKF 38393 plus quinpirole administered alone, but had no effect on the behavioural response to separate injection of these agonists. MK-801 (0.05 mg/kg SC, 30 min) also enhanced the behavioural response to bilateral injection into the nucleus accumbens of SKF 38393 plus quinpirole (1.0 plus 0.4 microgram/side, respectively). These data suggest that in the intact rat, the enhancement of dopamine-mediated behaviour by either MK-801 or CPP requires concomitant stimulation of D1-like and D2-like receptors, possible located within the nucleus accumbens. The effect of these NMDA antagonists on dopamine function is similar to that of repeated electroconvulsive shock (ECS), indicating that one of the actions of ECS may be to reduce NMDA receptor function.


Journal article


Psychopharmacology (Berl)

Publication Date





85 - 94


Animals, Dizocilpine Maleate, Dopamine Agonists, Electroshock, Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists, Injections, Intraventricular, Male, Motor Activity, Nucleus Accumbens, Pyrazines, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate