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Psychopharmacology

, Volume 235, Issue 4, pp 959–969 | Cite as

Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) increase sensitivity to uncertainty by inhibition of dopamine D1 and D2 receptors

  • Kathryn G. Wallin-Miller
  • Frida Kreutz
  • Grace Li
  • Ruth I. Wood
Original Investigation

Abstract

Background

Anabolic-androgenic steroid abuse is implicated in maladaptive behaviors such as impaired cognition in humans. In a rat model, our lab has shown that testosterone decreases preference for a large/uncertain reward in probability discounting. Other studies have shown that androgens decrease dopamine D1 and D2 receptors in the nucleus accumbens shell, a region important for decision-making behavior in probability discounting. Thus, we attempted to restore selection of the large/uncertain reward in testosterone-treated rats by administering the D2 receptor agonist quinpirole or the D1 receptor agonist SKF81297 and testing probability discounting.

Methods

Adolescent male Long-Evans rats were treated chronically with high-dose testosterone (7.5 mg/kg) or vehicle (13% cyclodextrin in water), and tested for probability discounting after injections of saline, 0.1 and 0.5 mg/kg of quinpirole or SKF81297. Rats chose between a small/certain reward (1 sugar pellet, 100% probability) and a large/uncertain reward (4 pellets, decreasing probability: 100, 75, 50, 25, 0%).

Results

Testosterone-treated rats selected the large/uncertain reward significantly less than vehicle-treated controls after saline injection. However, acute injection with 0.1 mg/kg quinpirole increased large/uncertain reward preference in testosterone-treated rats only, indicated by a testosterone × quinpirole interaction. At 0.5 mg/kg, quinpirole increased large/uncertain reward preference in all rats. Acute injection with SKF81297 at 0.1 or 0.5 mg/kg rescued large/uncertain reward preference in testosterone-treated rats by eliminating the difference between groups.

Conclusions

It appears that altered probability discounting behavior in testosterone-treated rats is due to both decreased D1 and D2 receptor function.

Keywords

Anabolic agents Dopamine Decision making Operant behavior Food reward 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was funded by NIH R01-DA029613 to RIW.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn G. Wallin-Miller
    • 1
  • Frida Kreutz
    • 2
  • Grace Li
    • 3
  • Ruth I. Wood
    • 3
  1. 1.Neuroscience Graduate ProgramUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical BiosciencesUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Department of Integrated Anatomical SciencesKeck School of Medicine of the University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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