Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Russell W. Brown

Thesis Professor Department



Neonatal treatment of quinpirole in rats increases dopamine D2-like receptor sensitivity over the animal’s lifetime, a phenomenon referred to as D2 priming. Male and female Sprague-Dawley rats were given quinpirole (1mg/kg, i.p.) or saline on postnatal days (P)1-21. After habituation to a locomotor arena on P29-31, beginning P33, animals were administered nicotine (0.3 mg/kg, 0.5 mg/kg, or 0.7 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline and placed into a locomotor arena for behavioral testing every second day for a total of 9 treatments. The results showed that adolescents neonatally treated with quinpirole produced more enhanced sensitization to nicotine than controls. Brains tissues were analyzed for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein involved in neuron development and maintenance. The results showed that neonatal quinpirole treatment produced a significant increase in accumbal BDNF. Also, adolescent nicotine treatment produced a significant increase in BDNF in the nucleus accumbens and dorsal striatum. These findings help to broaden understanding of behavioral and chemical changes involved in schizophrenia and nicotine use and could have applications in aiding to alleviate this common comorbidity.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.