, Volume 231, Issue 3, pp 613-619
Date: 29 Sep 2013

Effects of repeated treatment with the dopamine D2/D3 receptor partial agonist aripiprazole on striatal D2/D3 receptor availability in monkeys

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Chronic treatment with dopamine (DA) receptor agonists and antagonists can differentially affect measures of DA D2/D3 receptor number and function, but the effects of chronic treatment with a partial D2/D3 receptor agonist are not clear.


We used a within-subjects design in male cynomolgus monkeys to determine the effects of repeated (17-day) treatment with the D2/D3 receptor partial agonist aripiprazole (ARI; 0.03 mg/kg and 0.1 mg/kg i.m.) on food-reinforced behavior (n = 5) and on D2/D3 receptor availability as measured with positron emission tomography (PET; n = 9).


Five monkeys responded under a fixed-ratio 50 schedule of food reinforcement and D2/D3 receptor availability was measured before and 4 days after ARI treatment using PET and the D2/D3 receptor-selective radioligand [18F]fluoroclebopride (FCP). Four additional monkeys were studied using [11C]raclopride and treated sequentially with each dose of ARI for 17 days.


ARI decreased food-maintained responding with minimal evidence of tolerance. Repeated ARI administration increased FCP and raclopride distribution volume ratios (DVRs) in the caudate nucleus and putamen in most monkeys, but decreases were observed in monkeys with the highest baseline DVRs.


The results indicate that repeated treatment with a low-efficacy DA receptor partial agonist produces effects on brain D2/D3 receptor availability that are qualitatively different from those of both high-efficacy receptor agonists and antagonists, and suggest that the observed individual differences in response to ARI treatment may reflect its partial agonist activity.