Delusions, superstitious conditioning
and chaotic dopamine neurodynamics

by
Shaner A
West Los Angeles VA Medical Center,
CA 90073, USA.
AShaner@UCLA.edu
Med Hypotheses 1999 Feb; 52(2):119-23


ABSTRACT

Excessive mesolimbic dopaminergic neurotransmission is closely related to the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. A mathematical model of dopamine neuron firing rates, developed by King and others, suggests a mechanism by which excessive dopaminergic transmission could produce psychotic symptoms, especially delusions. In this model, firing rates varied chaotically when the efficacy of dopaminergic transmission was enhanced. Such non-contingent changes in firing rates in mesolimbic reward pathways could produce delusions by distorting thinking in the same way that non-contingent reinforcement produces superstitious conditioning. Though difficult to test in humans, the hypothesis is testable as an explanation for a common animal model of psychosis--amphetamine stereotypy in rats. The hypothesis predicts that: (1) amphetamine will cause chaotic firing rates in mesolimbic dopamine neurons; (2) non-contingent brain stimulation reward will produce stereotypy; (3) non-contingent microdialysis of dopamine into reward areas will produce stereotypy; and (4) dopamine antagonists will block all three effects.


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Anxiety
Dopamine
GBR12909
Anhedonia
5-HT/dopamine
Retarded depression
Amphetamine psychosis
Drugs, dopamine and learning
Dopamine and sexual function
Dopamine model of schizophrenia
Depression, dopamine and dextroamphetamine
Mesolimbic medium spiny neurons and pleasure
Regulation of synapses in the nucleus accumbens
Depression and the mesolimbic dopamine system
The nucleus accumbens: opioids versus cannabinoids



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