Dopamine D1 and D2 receptor ligands modulate the behaviour of mice in the elevated plus-maze

R. J. Rodgers, E. M. Nikulina, J. C. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


To further our understanding of the potential role of dopamine in mechanisms of anxiety, the effects of four dopamine receptor ligands were examined in an ethological version of the murine elevated plus-maze test. The D1 receptor partial agonist, SKF 38393 (2.5-20.0 mg/kg), had minimal behavioural activity in this test, whereas the selective D1 receptor antagonist, SCH 23390 (0.025-0.2 mg/kg), had dose-dependent but behaviourally nonspecific effects. Quinpirole (0.0625-0.5 mg/kg), a D2 receptor agonist, had no effects at low doses but severely disrupted locomotion and exploration at the highest doses tested. In marked contrast to the lack of effect or nonspecific effects seen with the other ligands tested, the D2 receptor antagonist, sulpuride (2.5-20.0 mg/kg), produced an unambiguous anxiolytic-like profile under present test conditions. Although none of the doses tested adversely affected general activity, clear antianxiety effects were observed on both traditional an novel (i.e., risk assessment) behavioural measure. Data are discussed in relation to the relative importance of D1 and D2 receptor mechanism in plus-maze anxiety, and the need to further assess D2 involvement through the use of more selective compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)985-995
Number of pages11
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1994


  • Dopamine
  • Elevated plus-maze
  • Ethological analysis
  • Quinpirole
  • Risk assessment
  • SCH-23390
  • SKF 38393
  • Sulpiride

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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