Interactions of neurotensin with brain dopamine systems: Biochemical and behavioral studies

C. B. Nemeroff, D. Luttinger, D. E. Hernandez, Richard Mailman, G. A. Mason, S. D. Davis, E. Widerlöv, G. D. Frye, C. A. Kilts, K. Beaumont, G. R. Breese, A. J. Prange

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185 Scopus citations


Intracisternal (i.c.) injection of neurotensin (NT) to rats or mice attenuated the locomotor hyperactivity induced by d-amphetamine, methylphenidate or cocaine, but not the increased activity induced by apomorphine or lergotrile. The reduction of methylphenidate-induced locomotor activity by i.c. NT was not due to an increased drug metabolism because i.c. NT did not change plasma methylphenidate concentrations. These actions of NT are distinct from those of the dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol, which blocked the locomotor hyperactivity induced by all five stimulant drugs in rats. A further difference between NT and neuroleptics was demonstrated by the observation that i.c. NT did not block apomorphine-induced stereotypic behavior. In vitro, NT did not displace [3H]spiperone from its binding sites in homogenates of either the striatum or nucleus accumbens from rat brain. Moreover, i.c. injection of NT did not alter the subsequent in vitro binding of [3H]spiperone to membranes of the nucleus accumbens or striatum. In addition, NT did not alter basal or dopamine-stimulated adenylate cyclase activity in homogenates of the nucleus accumbens or striatum. However, i.c. injection of NT produced a significant increase in the concentrations of homovanillic acid, a major dopamine metabolite, in the nucleus accumbens, olfactory tubercles and striatum. In addition, the concentration of dihydroxyphenylacetic acid was increased in the nucleus accumbens and olfactory tubercles after i.c. NT. Peripheral injection of haloperidol produced qualitatively similar effects on dopamine metabolism, but the effects of haloperidol, unlike those of i.c. NT, were attenuated by apomorphine injection. Taken together, these data indicate that centrally administered NT affects certain brain dopamine systems without interacting directly with those dopamine receptors labeled by [3H]spiperone, coupled to adenylate cyclase or mediating the pharmacological effects of apomorphine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-345
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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