Heritable differences in the dopaminergic regulation of behavior in rats: Relationship to D2-like receptor G-protein function

Neal R. Swerdlow, Alison S. Krupin, Michele J. Bongiovanni, Jody M. Shoemaker, Jana C. Goins, Ronald P. Hammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We reported heritable differences between Sprague-Dawley (SD) and Long Evans (LE) rats in their sensitivity to the disruption of prepulse inhibition of startle (PPI) by dopamine (DA) agonists, and in their basal levels and turnover of forebrain DA. In an effort to better understand these differences, we assessed strain patterns in the efficacy of D2-like receptor-G-protein coupling using [35S]GTPγS binding in brain regions that contribute to the dopaminergic regulation of PPI. Sensitivity to the PPI-disruptive effects of apomorphine (APO) was examined in SD, LE, and FI (SD x LE) rats. Basal and DA-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding were then assessed in these rats using conditions that preferentially exclude Gs proteins to favor visualization of D2-like receptors. To explore the behavioral specificity of these strain differences, locomotor responses to APO and amphetamine (AMPH) were also assessed in SD, LE, and FI rats. Strain differences were evident in the PPI-disruptive effects of APO (SD > FI > LE), and in the locomotor responses to AMPH (LE > FI > SD) and APO (SD exhibited motor suppression, LE exhibited motor activation). Compared to SD rats, LE rats exhibited greater DA-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding in nucleus accumbens and caudatoputamen, while FI progeny had intermediate levels. In conclusion, SD and LE rats exhibit heritable differences in D2-mediated behavioral and biochemical measures. Conceivably, genes that regulate heritable differences in forebrain D2 function may contribute to heritable differences in PPI in patients with specific neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and Tourette Syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-729
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Amphetamine
  • Apomorphine
  • Dopamine
  • G protein
  • Locomotor
  • Prepulse inhibition
  • Startle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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