Pavlovian conditioning ofl-dopa induced movement

Research paper by Robert J. Carey

Indexed on: 01 Jun '92Published on: 01 Jun '92Published in: Psychopharmacology


Using the unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) substantia nigra pars compacta (SNC) lesion rat model and a Pavlovian conditioning protocol, the present investigation determined that the contralateral rotation response induced by the antiparkinsonian dopaminergic drugl-dopa can become conditioned to exteroceptive test environment stimuli. Two non-drug conditioning tests indicated that contralateral rotation was elicited by the test environment without the presence ofl-dopa. This conditioned response had a rotation diameter profile that was qualitatively the same as thel-dopa induced contralateral rotation response. Additionally, drug tests with the combined dopaminergic receptor antagonists, SCH 23390 (0.1 mg/kg) and haloperidol (0.5 mg/kg), at doses sufficient to block spontaneous behavior andl-dopa (20 mg/kg)-induced rotation, revealed that the conditioned contralateral rotation response, unlikel-dopa-induced contralateral rotation, is not affected by D1/D2 receptor blockade. Thus, the conditoned stimuli of the test environment can elicit the contralateral rotation response even in animals rendered akinetic by D1/D2 antagonists. This activation of a conditioned dopaminergic drug response by the situational stimuli, independent of dopaminergic mechanisms, may, therefore, contribute to the untoward overstimulation clinical effects ofl-dopa through summation of conditioned and drug-induced effects. Furthermore, the use of conditioning procedures to elicit movement in akinetic animals may provide a new research methodology to investigate the phenomenon of paradoxical kinesia.