The present study investigated how repeated administration of aripiprazole (a novel antipsychotic drug) alters its behavioral effects in two behavioral tests of antipsychotic activity and whether this alteration is correlated with an increase in dopamine D2 receptor function. Male adult Sprague-Dawley rats were first repeatedly tested with aripiprazole (3, 10 and 30 mg/kg, subcutaneously (sc)) or vehicle in a conditioned avoidance response (CAR) test or a phencyclidine (PCP) (3.20 mg/kg, sc)-induced hyperlocomotion test daily for five consecutive days. After 2-3 days of drug-free retraining or resting, all rats were then challenged with aripiprazole (1.5 or 3.0 mg/kg, sc). Repeated administration of aripiprazole progressively increased its inhibition of avoidance responding and PCP-induced hyperlocomotion. More importantly, rats previously treated with aripiprazole showed significantly lower avoidance response and lower PCP-induced hyperlocomotion than those previously treated with vehicle in the challenge tests. An increased sensitivity to quinpirole (a selective D2/3 agonist) in prior aripiprazole-treated rats was also found in the quinpirole-induced hyperlocomotion test, suggesting an enhanced D2/3-mediated function. These findings suggest that aripiprazole, despite its distinct receptor mechanisms of action, induces a sensitization effect similar to those induced by other antipsychotic drugs and this effect may be partially mediated by brain plasticity involving D2/3 receptor systems.
- conditioned avoidance response
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pharmacology (medical)