Adolescent social defeat alters markers of adult dopaminergic function

Andrew M. Novick, Gina L. Forster, Shanaz M. Tejani-Butt, Michael J. Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Stressful experiences during adolescence can alter the trajectory of neural development and contribute to psychiatric disorders in adulthood. We previously demonstrated that adolescent male rats exposed to repeated social defeat stress show changes in mesocorticolimbic dopamine content both at baseline and in response to amphetamine when tested in adulthood. In the present study we examined whether markers of adult dopamine function are also compromised by adolescent experience of social defeat. Given that the dopamine transporter as well as dopamine D1 receptors act as regulators of psychostimulant action, are stress sensitive and undergo changes during adolescence, quantitative autoradiography was used to measure [ 3H]-GBR12935 binding to the dopamine transporter and [ 3H]-SCH23390 binding to dopamine D1 receptors, respectively. Our results indicate that social defeat during adolescence led to higher dopamine transporter binding in the infralimbic region of the medial prefrontal cortex and higher dopamine D1 receptor binding in the caudate putamen, while other brain regions analyzed were comparable to controls. Thus it appears that social defeat during adolescence causes specific changes to the adult dopamine system, which may contribute to behavioral alterations and increased drug seeking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 10 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent stress
  • Dopamine
  • Dopamine D1 receptor
  • Dopamine transporter
  • Social defeat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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