Modification of the function of D1 and D2 dopamine receptors in striatum and nucleus accumbens of rats chronically treated with haloperidol

M. Memo, M. Pizzi, C. Missale, M. O. Carruba, P. F. Spano

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With the aim of evaluating the possible functional modifications of both D1 and D2 dopamine receptor subpopulations after repeated administration of neuroleptics, the ability of selective D1 and D2 dopamine agonists to stimulate or inhibit, respectively, the activity of adenylate cyclase in the striatum and nucleus accumbens of rats treated with either saline or haloperidol for 21 days, was studied. It was found that stimulation of the activity of adenylate cyclase elicited by the selective D1 receptor agonist SKF 38393 was significantly greater in homogenates of striatum in rats treated with haloperidol, than in those of saline-treated rats. Similarly, the inhibitory effect on the activity of the enzyme elicited by the selective D2 agonist bromocriptine was much more evident in homogenates of the striatum from rats treated with neuroleptic than in those from saline-treated rats. When dopamine, sodium fluoride (NaF), or 5-guanylyl imidodiphosphate (Gpp(NH)p), were used as agonists to stimulate the activity of adenylate cyclase, the amount of cyclic AMP formed appeared the same in rats treated with haloperidol or saline. Dopamine receptors in nucleus accumbens behaved like those in the striatum in the pattern of modifications after repeated administration of haloperidol. Indeed, the inhibitory effect elicited by bromocriptine, as well as the stimulatory effect elicited by SKF 38393, was much more evident in nucleus accumbens from rats treated with haloperidol than in that from controls, whereas activation of adenylate cyclase induced by dopamine and sodium fluoride was similar in both experimental groups. Thus, the present results indicate that long-term treatment with haloperidol caused an up-regulation of both D1 and D2 subpopulations of dopamine receptors in striatum and nucleus accumbens of the rat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-480
Number of pages4
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1987



  • adenylate cyclase
  • dopamine receptors
  • haloperidol
  • schizophrenia
  • supersensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology

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