, Volume 163, Issue 1, pp 54-61
Date: 17 Jul 2002

Cocaine-induced locomotor activity and cocaine discrimination in dopamine D2 receptor mutant mice

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Abstract

Rationale. Dopamine (DA) D2-like antagonists block several effects of cocaine, including its locomotor stimulant and interoceptive discriminative-stimulus effects. Because these compounds generally lack selectivity among the D2-like DA receptors, the specific roles of the subtypes remain unclear.

Objectives. DA D2 receptor knockout (DA D2R KO), heterozygous (HET), and wild-type (WT) mice were used to study the role of D2 DA receptors in the effects of cocaine. Some effects of the relatively selective DA D2-like antagonist raclopride were also studied to further assess the role of D2 receptors.

Methods. DA D2R KO, HET, and WT mice were treated with cocaine (1–10 mg/kg) or vehicle, and their horizontal locomotor activity was assessed. The mice were also trained to discriminate i.p. injections of saline from cocaine (10 mg/kg) using a two-response key, fixed-ratio-20 response, food-reinforcement procedure. A range of doses of cocaine (1.0–17 mg/kg) was administered before 15-min test sessions.

Results. Both DA D2R KO and HET mice showed reduced levels of horizontal activity relative to WT mice. Cocaine dose dependently stimulated activity in each genotype, with the highest level of activity induced in the DA D2R WT mice. All three genotypes acquired the discrimination of 10 mg/kg cocaine; tested doses of 1.0–10.0 mg/kg produced dose-related increases in the number of cocaine-appropriate responses. Raclopride, at inactive to fully active doses (0.1–1.0 mg/kg), did not fully substitute for cocaine. Raclopride dose dependently shifted the cocaine dose–effect curve to the right in DA D2R WT and HET mice. However, in DA D2R KO mice, raclopride was inactive as an antagonist.

Conclusions. The present data indicate an involvement of D2 DA receptors in the locomotor-stimulating effects and the interoceptive discriminative-stimulus effects of cocaine in WT subjects. However, the D2 receptor is not necessary for the effects, suggesting redundant dopaminergic mechanisms for the discriminative-stimulus interoceptive effects of cocaine.

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