Subsensitivity of striatal and mesolimbic dopamine target cells after repeated treatment with apomorphine dipivaloyl ester

  • B. Scatton
  • P. Worms


The effects of acute and repeated treatments with the dipivaloyl ester of apomorphine on behaviour and brain dopamine metabolism were compared in rats. A single injection of the ester (50 mg/kg i.p.) induced a stereotyped behaviour lasting for at least 6h and a concomitant decrease in striatal HVA levels. After repeated treatment (twice daily for 7 days) with the drug, both the stereotyped behaviour and the decreases in striatal HVA levels were attenuated as compared to acute treatment; the minimal dose tested which induced this tolerance was found to be 25 mg/kg i.p. The minimal length of treatment with 50 mg/kg of the ester after which tolerance was observed was 3–4 days. The ED50 for haloperidol-induced catalepsy was about 4 times lower in rats treated with apomorphine dipivaloyl ester (50 mg/kg) for 7 days than in naive rats. Similarly, a shift to the left of the haloperidol doseresponse curve for the increase in striatal dopamine metabolite levels was observed in rats treated subacutely with the ester as compared to control rats.

Repeated treatment (7 days) with the dipivaloyl ester of apomorphine also attenuated the decrease in NVA levels seen with acute treatment in nucleus accumbens and tuberculum olfactorium; however, the threshold dose inducing tolerance in limbic regions was higher than in striatum.

No difference in the brain concentrations of apomorphine was found after acute and repeated treatments with the ester.

Thus, the present study provides evidence for the development of subsensitivity of dopamine receptors after repeated administration of apomorphine dipivaloyl ester.

Key words

Apomorphine dipivaloyl ester Stereotyped behaviour Brain dopamine metabolism Subsensitivity Haloperidol 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Scatton
    • 1
  • P. Worms
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Neurochemistry UnitSynthélabo-L.E.R.S.BagneuxFrance
  2. 2.Neuropharmacology UnitBagneuxFrance

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