Role of dopamine D1-like and D2-like receptors in the activation of ingestive behaviour in thirsty rats licking for water
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Analysis of lick pattern for sucrose and NaCl and of the forced swimming response after dopamine antagonist administration led us to suggest that dopamine on D1-like receptors is involved in behavioural activation, and the level of activation is “reboosted” on the basis of an evaluation process involving D2-like receptors. Although some studies investigated licking microstructure for water after dopamine antagonists, the within-session time course of their effect was never investigated.
The aims of this study were to further investigate the role of dopamine receptors in the mechanisms governing water ingestion, focussing on the within-session time course of the microstructure parameters, and to test the proposed hypothesis.
Materials and methods
The effects of the dopamine D1-like receptor antagonist SCH 23390 (0.01–0.04 mg/kg) and of the dopamine D2-like receptor antagonist raclopride (0.025–0.25 mg/kg) on licking microstructure for water were examined in 20-h water-deprived rats in 30-min sessions.
As previously observed with sucrose and NaCl, SCH 23390 reduced licking by reducing burst number, suggesting reduced behavioural activation. Moreover, it resulted in an increased burst size. Raclopride reduced the size of licking bursts, while their number was either increased or decreased depending on the dose.
The results support the suggestion that D1 receptors are involved in behavioural activation and D2 receptors are involved in a related evaluation process. Within the framework of the proposed hypothesis, the increased burst size after D1-like receptor blockade might be interpreted as a pro-hedonic effect consequent to the increased cost of the activation of the licking response.
KeywordsActivation Dopamine Dopamine receptor Ingestion Motivation Reward
The present study was funded by the Fondazione di Sardegna, Sassari, Italy.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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