Ontogeny of behavioral sensitization in the rat: effects of direct and indirect dopamine agonists. Academic Article uri icon


  • In the present study, the abilities of NPA (a direct DA receptor agonist) and amphetamine (an indirect DA receptor agonist) to induce short- and long-term behavioral sensitization were assessed in 11- and 17-day-old rats (age at initial injection). Rats were injected on 4 consecutive days with amphetamine (1.0, 2.5, or 5.0 mg/kg), NPA (1.0 mg/kg), or saline. A final test day occurred either 2 days (experiment 1) or 8 days (experiment 2) later. On the test day, rats given successive agonist injections received a single injection of the same agonist again; whereas rats given successive saline injections received either amphetamine or NPA for the first time. Five minutes after injection, locomotor activity (line-crosses), stereotyped sniffing, and vertical activity were measured during a 30-min testing session. The results showed that 11- and 17-day-old rats exhibited behavioral sensitization when tested with NPA or amphetamine after a 2-day interval. In contrast, neither NPA nor amphetamine was able to sensitize the behaviors of preweanling rats when measured 8 days after initial drug treatments. Therefore, these results show that both direct and indirect DA agonists are able to induce short-term behavioral sensitization in preweanling rats, but that the mechanisms responsible for mediating long-term behavioral sensitization have not yet matured.

published proceedings

  • Psychopharmacology (Berl)

author list (cited authors)

  • McDougall, S. A., Duke, M. A., Bolanos, C. A., & Crawford, C. A.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • McDougall, SA||Duke, MA||Bolanos, CA||Crawford, CA

publication date

  • December 1994