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Discriminative stimulus effects of a low dose of apomorphine in the rat


The discriminative stimulus (DS) effect of apomorphine was investigated in rats trained in a two-lever, food-reinforcement procedure. Rats were given subcutaneous injections of saline or 0.1 mg/kg apomorphine HCl, 15 min before training sessions. The training dose of apomorphine was chosen to activate dopamine autoreceptors selectively. Stimulus generalization studies demonstrated that the DS effects generalized completely to other directacting dopaminergic agonists such as N-n-propylnorapomorphine (NPNA), pergolide, lergotrile, and bromocriptine. The indirect-acting dopamine agonists, (+)amphetamine, cocaine, and methylphenidate produced predominantly saline-appropriate lever responses. The DS effect of apomorphine at the training dose was incompletely antagonized by haloperidol or metoclopramide. The dopaminergic antagonists tested, however, also partially generalized to apomorphine. Both enantiomers of 3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-N-n-propylpiperidine (3-PPP) produced apomorphine-appropriate lever choice with the (-) enantiomer being slightly more potent. The discriminative property of this (0.1 mg/kg) dose of apomorphine has characteristics consistent with selective dopamine autoreceptor activation.

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Correspondence to A. H. Tang.

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Tang, A.H., Franklin, S.R. Discriminative stimulus effects of a low dose of apomorphine in the rat. Psychopharmacologia 91, 61–66 (1987).

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Key words

  • Drug discrimination
  • Apomorphine
  • Dopamine autoreceptor