, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 289-296

Amphetamine-type reinforcement by dopaminergic agonists in the rat

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Intravenous self-administration of d-amphetamine (0.25 mg/kg/injection) decreased in a dose-related fashion after injections of the dopaminergic agonists apomorphine and piribedil. The dopaminergic agonists appear to suppress amphetamine intake in the same way as do ‘free’ amphetamine injections, by extending drug satiation in a given interresponse period. Clonidine, an alpha noradrenergic agonist, did not have similar effects. Apomorphine and piribedil did not increase 14C-amphetamine levels in rat brains, nor did they retard disappearance of 14C-amphetamine; thus their amphetamine-like effects are not due to alterations of amphetamine metabolism. Rats responding for amphetamine continued to respond for apomorphine or piribedil when the latter drugs were substituted for the former. Rats experienced in amphetamine self-administration readily initiated and maintained responding for apomorphine and piribedil. The dopaminergic blocker (+)-butaclamol disrupted responding for apomorphine and piribedil, although it produced no marked increase in responding for the dopaminergic agonists, as it does for amphetamine. These data add to the evidence that actions in the dopaminergic synapse account for amphetamine's reinforcing properties.