Reinforcing effects of D2 dopamine receptor agonists and partial agonists in rhesus monkeys
Ranaldi R, Wang Z, Woolverton WL.
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior,
University of Mississippi Medical Center,
2500 North State Street, 39216, Jackson, MS, USA
Drug Alcohol Depend 2001 Oct 1;64(2):209-17


Dopamine (DA) receptors play a role in the reinforcing effects of psychomotor stimulants and other drugs. Both D1 and D2 DA receptor agonists have been reported to function as positive reinforcers in maintaining self-administration in non-human subjects. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate, in monkeys, the reinforcing effects of DA D2 receptor agonists that vary in their efficacy as D2 agonists. Rhesus monkeys were prepared with venous catheters and lever pressing was maintained by i.v. cocaine (n=5, 0.03 mg/kg/inj) in daily baseline sessions (2 h/day, fixed ratio 25). Various doses of cocaine or D2 agonists were then made available for at least four to seven sessions, and until responding was stable. At least one dose of the higher-efficacy D2 agonists, R(-)-propylnorapomorphine (NPA) (n=4, 0.001-0.01 mg/kg/inj), R(-)-apomorphine (APO) (n=4, 0.003-0.1 mg/kg/inj) and R(+)-3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-N-propylpiperidine HCl [R(+)-3-PPP] (n=4, 0.03-0.3 mg/kg/inj), functioned as a positive reinforcer in all the monkeys tested. In contrast, no dose of the lower-efficacy D2 agonists, R(+)-terguride (n=4, 0.001-0.3 mg/kg/inj) and S(-)-3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-N-propylpiperidine HCl [S(-)-3-PPP] (n=4, 0.001-0.3 mg/kg/inj), maintained self-administration. In in vitro binding studies with monkey brain tissue NPA and terguride had high affinities for the D2 receptor, while APO had intermediate affinity, and the 3-PPPs had low affinity. Among the compounds that were reinforcers potency as a reinforcer was directly related to D2 affinity in three of the four monkeys, consistent with D2 receptor involvement in the reinforcing effect of these compounds. The data suggest that the efficacy at D2 receptors is directly related to the reinforcing effect.

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