Differences in the behavioral profile of circling under amphetamine and apomorphine in rats with unilateral lesions of the substantia nigra.
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In rats with severe depletion of striatal dopamine, produced by a unilateral injection of 6-hydroxydopamine into the substantia nigra, amphetamine (2 mg/kg) induces circling towards the side of the lesion and apomorphine (0.25 mg/kg) induces circling in the opposite direction. In Experiment 1 we showed that under apomorphine, circling may be related to an asymmetry in stepping, but under amphetamine it is not. Specifically, under apomorphine, rats rotate almost exclusively by stepping (backwards) with the contralateral hindlimb while pivoting on the ipsilateral hindlimb. In contrast, under amphetamine, they rotate using a variety of stepping patterns, and there is no consistent asymmetry in using one hindleg for stepping and the other one for bearing weight. Considering the stepping patterns, it is suggested that rotations induced by apomorphine and amphetamine involve at least one and two variables, respectively (turning and turning plus forward progression). Furthermore, the results of Experiment 2 revealed that under apomorphine the direction of circling in a pool of water is reversed by edges, but under amphetamine it is not. In particular, under apomorphine, rats swim in the contraversive direction when in the middle of the pool but in the ipsiversive direction when swimming along the edge of the pool. In contrast, under amphetamine, they show little attraction for the edge and continue swimming in the ipsiversive direction, regardless of their position in the pool. It seems, therefore, that different behavioral mechanisms may underlie the rotations induced by apomorphine and amphetamine.
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