Kappa-opioid receptor stimulation quickens pathogenesis of compulsive checking in the quinpirole sensitization model of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
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Repeated injections of the D2/D3 dopamine agonist, quinpirole, induce locomotor sensitization and compulsive checking behavior in rats, a phenomenon that may constitute an animal model of obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD). Considering that the co-joint treatment with quinpirole and the kappa opioid receptor agonist U69593 potentiates locomotor sensitization to quinpirole, the present study examined whether such co-stimulation of kappa and dopamine receptors also enhances compulsive checking and whether dopamine receptor supersensitivity mediates the augmentation effects. Results showed that co-treatment of quinpirole and U69593 had a robust accelerating effect on the acquisition of sensitized locomotion and compulsive checking but that the effects on the expression of quinpirole sensitization were behavior dependent, with increased magnitude of locomotion but not of compulsive checking. Quinpirole and even U69593, which by itself did not induce sensitization, increased the proportion of dopamine D2 receptors in the high-affinity state (D2(High)) in the nucleus accumbens and striatum, indicating that elevation of D2(High) is not sufficient to account for sensitization or compulsive checking. The animal model findings point to a potential role of kappa opioid systems in hastening the pathogenesis of OCD and to the possibility that distinct brain regions may mediate the development and the expression of compulsive checking.
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