Effect of raclopride on dopamine D2 receptor mRNA expression in rat brain.

PMID 1533704


Prolonged treatment with dopamine D2 receptor antagonists is known to elevate the density of dopamine D2 receptor binding sites in caudate-putamen and nucleus accumbens in rat and human brain. In this study we used the dopamine D2 receptor antagonist raclopride (3 mumol/kg, s.c.) to determine if a single injection or daily administration of this drug for up to 18 days changed the expression of dopamine D2 receptor mRNA in rat caudate-putamen and accumbens as measured by in situ hybridization. A single injection of raclopride did not significantly change the numerical density of dopamine D2 receptor mRNA-expressing neurons in any of the regions examined. A daily administration of raclopride for 18 days resulted in a 31% increase in the number of cells expressing detectable amounts of dopamine D2 receptor mRNA in dorsolateral caudate-putamen and in a 20% increase in the area of silver grains over individual hybridization-positive neurons in this brain region measured on emulsion-dipped slides. The region-specific increase in the D2 receptor mRNA level in dorsolateral caudate-putamen was confirmed by measurement of the hybridization signal on X-ray film autoradiograms. The levels of D2 receptor mRNA remained unchanged in medial caudate-putamen and accumbens after 18 days' treatment. The region-selective increase in dopamine D2 receptor mRNA expression in dorsolateral caudate-putamen indicates a differential regulation of dopamine D2 receptor mRNA expression in a subpopulation of caudate-putamen neurons by this neuroleptic. We suggest that the increase in dopamine D2 receptor density in caudate-putamen known to follow prolonged dopamine D2 receptor blockade to some extent is regulated at the level of gene expression.

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S(−)-Raclopride (+)-tartrate salt, >97%, solid
C15H20Cl2N2O3 · C4H6O6