We studied the in vitro electrical activity of rat neostriatal neurons following chronic neuroleptic treatment. In haloperidol-treated rats, unlike naive animals, activation of neostriatal D2 dopamine receptors induced a potent presynaptic inhibition of glutamate-mediated excitatory synaptic potentials. Haloperidol treatment did not affect the intrinsic membrane properties of the neostriatal neurons. Pre- and postsynaptic physiological responses to direct and indirect gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic and cholinergic agonists were not affected by chronic haloperidol treatment. These findings suggest that movement disorders induced by chronic neuroleptic treatment may result, at least in part, from a hypersensitivity of presynaptic D2 dopamine receptors regulating the release of glutamate.
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