Pharmacological manipulation of the dopaminergic system affects wheel-running activity in differentially active mice. Academic Article uri icon


  • The genetic factors involved in the regulation of physical activity are not well understood. The dopamine system has been implicated in the control of voluntary locomotion and wheel running (WR) in mice and is thus a likely candidate as a genetic/biological system important to the regulation of physical activity. This study evaluated the effects of four different dopaminergic acting drugs on WR in differentially active inbred strains of mice. High active C57L/J (n=7, 3 controls, 4 experimental) and low active C3H/HeJ (n=8, 3 controls, 5 experimental) were analyzed for baseline wheel-running indices of distance (km/day), duration (mins/day), and speed (m/min) for 21 days. Experimental mice received increasing doses over four days of each of the following drugs: SKF 81297 (D1 agonist), SCH 23390 (D1 antagonist), GBR 12783 (DAT inhibitor), and AMPT (tyrosine hydroxylase inhibitor). Each drug dose response treatment was separated by three days of recovery (no drug injections). WR indices were monitored during drug treatments and during drug wash-out phases. SKF 81297 significantly reduced (p=0.0004) WR in the C57L/J mice, but did not affect WR in the C3H/HeJ mice. GBR 12783 significantly increased (p=0.0005) WR in C3H/HeJ mice, but did not affect WR in C57L/J mice. Only duration (not overall WR) was significantly reduced in C57L/J mice in response to SCH 23390 (p=0.003) and AMPT (p=0.043). SCH 23390 (p=0.44) and AMPT (p=0.98) did not significantly affect WR in C3H/HeJ mice. These results suggest that genetic differences in dopamine signaling may play a role in the WR response to dopaminergic-acting drugs in inbred strains of mice. The high activity in the C57L/J strain appears most responsive to D1-like receptor acting drugs, while in the C3H/HeJ strain, dopamine re-uptake appears to have an influence on activity level.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Regul Homeost Agents

author list (cited authors)

  • Knab, A. M., Bowen, R. S., Hamilton, A. T., & Lightfoot, J. T.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Knab, AM||Bowen, RS||Hamilton, AT||Lightfoot, JT

publication date

  • January 2012