The yawning elicited by α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone involves serotonergic-dopaminergic-cholinergic neuron link in rats
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A behavioral study was performed in an attempt to understand the neuronal mechanisms involved in yawning and ‘Wet-Dog’ body shaking in rats.
Physostigmine (0.2 mg/kg, i. p.) and pilocarpine (4 mg/kg, i. p.) induced yawning. The physostigmine-induced yawning was markedly inhibited by high doses (4, 8 mg/kg, i. p.) of apomorphine which preferentially stimulate postsynaptic dopamine receptors but was not inhibited by methysergide, whereas the pilocarpine-induced yawning was unaffected by either apomorphine or methysergide.
Intraperitoneal injections of low doses (5 mg/kg, i. p.) of piribedil, which preferentially activate presynaptic dopamine autoreceptors, also elicited yawning. At a high dose of 80 mg/kg, piribedil produces stereotypy which has been thought to be mediated by stimulation of postsynaptic dopamine receptors. The yawning and stereotypy did not occur simultaneously in the rat. The piribedil-induced yawning was markedly inhibited after treatment with fluphenazine, scopolamine or methysergide.
Intraventricular injection of α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH, 10 μg/rat) elicited not only yawningstretching syndrome but also ‘Wet-Dog’ body shaking. Yawning synchronized with stretching in almost all cases. The α-MSH-induced yawning-stretching syndrome was blocked by scopolamine, apomorphine (8 mg/kg×3, i. p.), fluphenazine or methysergide, while body shaking was inhibited by methysergide, apomorphine or fluphenazine but was not inhibited by scopolamine.
Body shaking was also produced by 5-hydroxytryptophan (150 mg/kg, s. c.) in combination with a peripheral decarboxylase inhibitor, Ro 4-4602 (50 mg/kg, i. p.), accompanied rarely by yawning and stretching.
The present results indicate that a reciprocal balance of serotonergic activation-dopaminergic inhibition-cholinergic activation is involved in the yawning, and that α-MSH also induces body shaking by activating in part the central serotonergic neuron system.
Key wordsYawning ‘Wet-Dog’ body shaking α-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone Dopaminergic agonists Cholinergic agonists
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