Rats were trained to discriminate the putatively selective dopamine (DA) receptor agonists SKF 38393 (10 mg/kg) or Ly 171555 (0.025 mg/kg) from saline in a two-lever situation involving fixed-ratio (FR 20), extinction schedules of water reinforcement. During substitution tests, no dose of any compound [apomorphine, Ly 171555, lisuride, LSD, amphetamine, cocaine, (-) 3-PPP, or SKF 82526] mimicked SKF 38393, the effects of which were blocked by the D1 antagonist Sch 23390 but not by haloperidol. Postsynaptic and DA "autoreceptor" agonists [apomorphine, (-) 3-PPP], as well as dopaminergic ergot derivatives (bromocriptine, lergotrile, lisuride) and Sch 23390, substituted for Ly 171555, a partial ergoline which has behavioral effects that are blocked by haloperidol and molindone, but not by either Sch 23390 or serotonin (5-HT) antagonists (ketanserin, pizotifen). Amphetamine and cocaine did not substitute for either SKF 38393 or Ly 171555. These results suggest that the stimulus properties of a variety of neuropharmacologically important and clinically useful compounds are transduced at (pre- or postsynaptic) D2 receptors. However, this conclusion must be tempered by evidence that actions at D1 and D2 receptors may not be entirely independent. The behavioral effects of abused psychomotor stimulants probably involve mechanisms other than "direct" agonist activity at either D1 or D2 receptors.
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