D1 and D2 dopamine receptor antagonists reverse prepulse inhibition deficits in an animal model of schizophrenia

Research paper by Diane C. Hoffman, Hilary Donovan

Indexed on: 01 Aug '94Published on: 01 Aug '94Published in: Psychopharmacology


The amplitude of the acoustic startle response is decreased if the startle stimulus is preceded by a nonstartle eliciting stimulus. This sensorimotor gating phenomenon, known as prepulse inhibition, is diminished in schizophrenic individuals. In rats, the dopamine agonist apomorphine disrupts prepulse inhibition and this disruption is reversed by classical and atypical antipsychotics. Furthermore, the ability of antipsychotics to reverse the apomorphine disruption is correlated with clinical potency and D2 receptor affinity. In the present study, the role of the D1 receptor in prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response was studied; the effects of the D1 receptor antagonist SCH 23390 were examined and compared to the effects of the D2 receptor antagonist eticlopride. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were placed into a startle chamber and presented with auditory stimuli consisting of either 95 or 105 dB noise bursts presented alone or preceded by a 75 dB noise burst. Trials consisting of no stimulus and the 75 dB prepulse stimulus alone were also included. These six trial types (ten each) were randomly presented within a 35-min session. Rats treated with 2.0 mg/kg apomorphine (SC) demonstrated a significant disruption of prepulse inhibition compared to vehicle controls. Pretreatment with the D1 antagonist SCH 23390 (0.01, 0.05, 0.1 mg/kg SC) or the D2 antagonist eticlopride (0.01, 0.05, 0.1 mg/kg SC) attenuated the disruptive effects of apomorphine. These results indicate that selective blockade of either the D1 or D2 receptor subtype is sufficient in reversing the sensorimotor gating deficits produced by apomorphine. The effects of eticlopride and SCH 23390 on prepulse inhibition in saline-treated rats were also examined. Each antagonist produced a dose-related facilitation of prepulse inhibition, suggesting that endogenous DA acting at either receptor subtype plays a role in the tonic modulation of sensorimotor gating.