[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current antipsychotic drugs are thought to inhibit central dopamine (DA) transmission by blocking DA receptors. Here, we provide evidence that the atypical antipsychotic drug clozapine may produce part of its effect by inhibiting a subset of excitatory inputs to DA neurons. Thus, in chloral hydrate-anesthetized rats, systemic administration of D-amphetamine produced two opposing effects on DA neurons in the ventral tegmental area. Under control conditions, D-amphetamine inhibited the firing of the cell through D2-like receptors. When D2-like receptors were blocked by raclopride, D-amphetamine excited DA neurons, instead of producing no effect. The excitation, expressed as an increase in firing rate and a slow oscillation in firing pattern, was suppressed by the adrenergic alpha1 receptor antagonist prazosin, suggesting an involvement of alpha1 receptors. In rats pretreated with the typical antipsychotic drug haloperidol, D-amphetamine also excited DA neurons. However, when given after clozapine, D-amphetamine produced no significant effects. The failure of D-amphetamine to produce an excitation is not due to an incomplete blockade of D2-like receptors by clozapine because co-treatment with clozapine and raclopride also failed to enable the excitatory effect of D-amphetamine. The suggestion that clozapine inhibits the excitatory effect of D-amphetamine is further supported by the finding that clozapine, given after D-amphetamine, reliably reversed D-amphetamine-induced excitation in raclopride-treated rats. Thus, different from raclopride and haloperidol, clozapine may inhibit DA transmission through two additive mechanisms: blockade of DA receptors and inhibition of an amphetamine-sensitive, excitatory pathway that innervates DA neurons.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Noradrenergic transmission is implicated in the biochemical and behavioral effects of cocaine. Recently, we demonstrated that the alpha 1-adrenergic receptor antagonist prazosin attenuates cocaine-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior. We now assessed whether prazosin could counter the effect of previous exposure to cocaine to enhance subsequent self-administration behavior. Rats were pre-exposed to systemic injections of either saline, prazosin (0.3 mg/kg), saline+cocaine (10 mg/kg), or prazosin+cocaine for 5 days. Starting 15-18 days after the last pre-exposure injection, rats were trained to self-administer cocaine (0.5 mg/kg/infusion) under a fixed ratio 3 (FR3) schedule of reinforcement. Several tests were conducted. First, responding for cocaine under an FR3 schedule was assessed across several doses (0.125-1.0 mg/kg/infusion). Second, responding for cocaine (0.5 mg/kg/infusion) under a progressive-ratio (PR) schedule was examined for 6 consecutive days. Finally, responding for cocaine (0, 0.5, and 1.0 mg/kg/infusion) was determined under the PR schedule of reinforcement. Results showed that cocaine pre-exposed rats self-administer more cocaine compared to saline pre-exposed rats when tested under both the FR and PR schedules. Rats pre-exposed to cocaine plus prazosin did not show enhanced cocaine self-administration. These rats, as well those pre-exposed to prazosin alone, showed levels of cocaine self-administration similar to saline pre-exposed rats. Thus, previous exposure to cocaine enhanced cocaine self-administration, an effect that appears to involve activation of alpha 1-adrenergic receptors. These data, along with several recent studies, show further support for the contribution of noradrenergic transmission in the behavioral effects of cocaine.