Neonatal 6-Hydroxydopamine Lesioning Enhances Quinpirole-Induced Vertical Jumping in Rats That Were Quinpirole Primed During Postnatal Ontogeny

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Quinpirole-induced vertical jumping is a phenomenon first observed in rats treated from birth, once a day for 21 days or more, with the dopamine D 2 receptor agonist quinpirole. This quinpirole-induced behavioral sensitization is known as a priming process. To determine whether dopaminergic innervation influenced this priming phenomenon, groups of rats were lesioned at 3 days after birth with the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA; 67 μg in each lateral ventricle; desipramine pretreatment, 20 mg/kg ip, 1 h). Rats were additionally treated daily from birth with quinpirole HCl (3.0 mg/kg ip, salt form). Controls received saline vehicle in place of 6-OHDA and/or quinpirole. When rats were placed in individual observation cages (1 h acclimation) starting at 20 days after birth, acute quinpirole treatment produced vertical jumping in the quinpirole-primed group; and the effect persisted through the twenty-ninth day. In rats additionally lesioned with 6-OHDA, vertical jumping was enhanced at 20, 24, 26/27, and 28/29 day-with there being as much as a 32-fold increase in vertical jumping versus the group that was primed with quinpirole, but not lesioned with 6-OHDA. This finding indicates that an ontogenetic 6-OHDA lesion enhances quinpirole-induced vertical jumping in rats and that dopaminergic innervation may normally exert a suppressive effect on vertical jumping.