Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Russell W. Brown

Committee Members

Michael L. Woodruff, Wallace E. Dixon Jr.


Prepulse inhibition (PPI) is an operational measure of sensorimotor gating and is known to be reduced when the dopamine D2 receptor is activated. We used a rodent model of psychosis in which increases in dopamine D2 receptor sensitivity are produced through neonatal quinpirole (a dopamine D2 / D3 agonist) treatment to rats. Rats were administered quinpirole (1mg/kg) or saline from postnatal day (P) 1-21. Rats were raised to adulthood and tested on PPI. Results showed that neonatal quinpirole treatment produced a significant reduction in PPI, and nicotine exacerbated this reduction. This reduction was partially blocked by the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine. Brain tissue was analyzed for regulators of G-protein signaling (RGS) and results showed that neonatal quinpirole significantly decreased RGS9, but increased RGS17 as compared to controls. These results appear to indicate that the G-protein couples more efficiently to the D2 receptor, and nicotine exacerbates PPI deficits in D2 receptor-primed rats.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.