The role of D1 and D2 receptors in dopamine agonist-induced modulation of affective defense behavior in the cat

Safwan Sweidan, Henry Edinger, Allan Siegel

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12 Scopus citations


The role of D1 and D2 dopamine (DA) receptor subtypes in mediating DAergic modulation of affective defense behavior in the cat has been investigated in the present study. Feline affective defense, characterized mainly by autonomic arousal, ear retraction, hissing and paw striking, was elicited by electrical stimulation of the ventromedial hypothalamus. Following the establishment of a stable threshold current for eliciting the hissing response of the behavior, the effect of systemic (IP) administration of various DAergic agonists and antagonists on the hissing threshold was determined. The injection of the nonselective DA agonist apomorphine (1.0, 0.3 and 0.1 mg/kg) facilitated hissing in a dose-related manner. This effect was mimicked by the D2-selective agonist LY 171555 (0.1, 0.03 and 0.01 mg/kg) but not by the D1-selective agonist SKF 38393 (1.0, 5.0 and 10.0 mg/kg), and was blocked by the nonselective and the D2-selective antagonists haloperidol (0.1 and 0.5 mg/kg) and spiperone (0.2 mg/kg), respectively. The D1-selective antagonist SCH 23390 blocked apomorphine-induced facilitation only at a high dose (0.5 mg/kg). In addition, the injection of haloperidol (1.0 mg/kg), spiperone (0.2 mg/kg) or SCH 23390 (0.1 mg/kg) alone inhibited the behavior. It was therefore concluded that DAergic facilitation of affective defense behavior is mainly mediated by the D2 receptors, but that activation of the D1 receptors may play a "permissive" role. The interaction between the D1 and D2 receptors in mediating this facilitation and the behavioral specificity of the effect are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-499
Number of pages9
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Affective defense
  • Cat
  • Dopamine receptors
  • Electrical stimulation of brain
  • Ventromedial hypothalamus


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