Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 160, Issue 4, pp 533–537 | Cite as

Repeated apomorphine administration alters dopamine D1 and D2 receptor densities in pigeon basal telencephalon

  • Martin J. AcerboEmail author
  • Pavel Výboh
  • Ľubor Košťál
  • Ľubica Kubíková
  • Juan D. Delius
Research Note


When pigeons are repeatedly administered a dose of apomorphine they show an increasing behavioral response, much as rodents do. In birds this expresses itself in an augmented pecking response. This sensitization is assumed to be largely due to a conditioning process. Here we present evidence that sensitization is accompanied by an alteration of the D1 to D2 dopamine receptor densities. An experimental group of pigeons was repeatedly injected with apomorphine, and a control group with saline. The basal forebrain tissue, known to be rich in dopamine receptors, was subjected to binding assays using tritiated specific D1 and D2 dopamine receptor antagonists. There was a trend towards an increase in D1 and a significant decrease in D2 receptor densities in apomorphine-treated birds compared to the saline-treated controls. We conclude that extended apomorphine treatment modifies the D1 dopamine receptor density in the opposite manner to the D2 dopamine receptor density.


Apomorphine Sensitization Dopamine receptors Binding assay Pigeons 



The research was supported by a research grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn. P.V., Ľ.K, and Ľ.K. were supported by the grants from the Slovak Grant Agency for Science, VEGA 2/6201/99 and 2/2080/22.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin J. Acerbo
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Pavel Výboh
    • 2
  • Ľubor Košťál
    • 2
  • Ľubica Kubíková
    • 2
  • Juan D. Delius
    • 1
  1. 1.Experimental PsychologyUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Animal Biochemistry and GeneticsSlovak Academy of SciencesIvanka pri DunajiSlovakia
  3. 3.Biopsychology Program, Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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