Dopaminergic mediation of the discriminative
stimulus effects of bupropion in rats

by
Terry P, Katz JL
Psychobiology Section,
NIDA Intramural Research Program,
National Institutes of Health,
Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.
Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1997 Nov; 134(2):201-12


ABSTRACT

Bupropion is a novel, non-tricyclic antidepressant with a primary pharmacological action of monoamine uptake inhibition. The drug resembles a psychostimulant in terms of its neurochemical and behavioural profiles in vivo, but it does not reliably produce stimulant-like effects in humans at clinically prescribed doses. Bupropion binds with modest selectivity to the dopamine transporter, but its behavioural effects have often been attributed to its inhibition of norepinephrine uptake. This experiment examines monoaminergic involvement in the discriminative stimulus effects of bupropion. Rats were trained to press one lever when injected i.p. with bupropion (17.0 mg/kg), and another lever when injected with saline. In substitution tests, dose-response curves were obtained for several monoamine uptake inhibitors. Nine of ten dopamine uptake blockers fully substituted for bupropion; the exception, indatraline (LU 19-005), partially substituted (71% bupropion-appropriate responding). Serotonin and norepinephrine uptake blockers (zimelidine and nisoxetine, respectively) produced negligible or limited substitution, and the anti-muscarinic dopamine uptake blocker benztropine produced limited partial substitution. A series of dopamine D1-like and D2-like receptor agonists were also tested: only the D2-like agonist RU 24213 fully substituted; three other D2-like agonists and four D1-like agonists partially substituted (50% < drug responding < 80%). Antagonism of the discriminative effects of bupropion was obtained with a D1- and a D2-like dopamine antagonist. The results demonstrate strong similarities with those obtained using other dopamine uptake inhibitors as training drugs, and support the view that the behavioural effects of bupropion are primarily mediated by dopaminergic mechanisms.
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