A Pharmacological Study Of Cocaine Activity In Planaria
Palladini G; Ruggeri S; Stocchi F;
De Pandis MF; Venturini G; Margotta V
Department of Neurological Sciences,
V.Le Universita 30, Italy.
Comp Biochem Physiol C Pharmacol Toxicol Endocrinol, 1996 Sep, 115:1, 41-5


Planaria has been proposed as a suitable research model in neurobiology because of its relatively simple organization. Dopaminergic agonists induce in this flatworm typical hyperkinesias that can be antagonized by dopaminergic blocking agents. The neurochemical basis of the effects of cocaine in vertebrates has not been fully elucidated, but the inhibition of catecholamine reuptake at a presynaptic level seems to play an important role. In this study we analyzed the involvement of the dopaminergic system in the mechanism of action of cocaine in planaria. The dose-related effects of cocaine on planaria motility and the response to cocaine treatment associated with the administration of specific D1 or D2 dopamine agonists and antagonists were investigated. The effects of reuptake inhibitors on cocaine activity were also studied. Planaria specimens treated with low doses of cocaine become motionless, whereas high doses induce a typical behavioural response, identical to the response induced by specific D2 agonists. This response is inhibited by a D2 selective blocking agent. Nomifensine, a specific dopamine reuptake inhibitor, induces a mixed D1/D2 response. The results of these experiments are discussed, also in relation with the conservation of dopaminergic receptors during evolution.

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