In both humans and mice, performance on tests of intelligence or general cognitive ability (GCA) is related to dopamine D1 receptor-mediated activity in the prelimbic cortex, and levels of DRD1 mRNA predict the GCA of mice. Here we assessed the turnover rate of D1 receptors as well as the expression level of the D1 chaperone protein (DRiP78) in the medial PPC (mPFC) of mice to determine whether rate of receptor turnover was associated with variations in the GCA of genetically heterogeneous mice. Following assessment of GCA (aggregate performance on four diverse learning tests) mice were administered an irreversible dopamine receptor antagonist (EEDQ), after which the density of new D1 receptors were quantified. GCA was positively correlated with both the rate of D1 receptor recovery and levels of DRiP78. Additionally, the density of D1 receptors was observed to increase within 60 min (or less) in response to intense demands on working memory, suggesting that a pool of immature receptors was available to accommodate high cognitive loads. These results provide evidence that innate general cognitive abilities are related to D1 receptor turnover rates in the prefrontal cortex, and that an intracellular pool of immature D1 receptors are available to accommodate cognitive demands.
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