The Role of Dopamine D1 and D2 Receptors in Adolescent Methylphenidate Conditioned Place Preference: Sex Differences and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor

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This study analyzed the role of dopamine D1 and D2 receptors in methylphenidate (MPH) conditioned place preference (CPP) in adolescent male and female rats, in addition to the role of these receptors in the effects of MPH on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the dorsal striatum and nucleus accumbens. Using a nonbiased CPP procedure, the animals were conditioned from postnatal day (PD) 33 to 37. On conditioning trials, animals were first administered saline or their respective antagonist (0.1 or 0.2 mg/kg SCH-23390; 0.01 or 0.03 mg/kg eticlopride HCl), followed by MPH (5 mg/kg). Approximately 10 min after MPH administration, the rats were placed into the paired context for a 10-min trial. One day after conditioning on PD38, a preference test was administered with dividers removed. One day following the preference test on PD39, brain tissue was removed, and the nucleus accumbens and striatum were analyzed for BDNF. Results revealed that MPH conditioning resulted in an increased preference that was blocked by either dose of SCH-23390, but generally not affected by either dose of eticlopride. Further, the higher dose of SCH-23390 resulted in a conditioned place aversion in males, presumably due to an increased number of dopamine D1 receptors in adolescent males. MPH produced a significant increase of striatal and accumbal BDNF alleviated by SCH-23390 or eticlopride. These results show that MPH results in CPP in adolescent male and female rats and these effects appear to be mediated by the dopamine D1 receptor, but the effects of MPH on BDNF appear to be mediated by both dopamine receptor families.