The morphogenesis of stereotyped behavior induced by the dopamine receptor agonist apomorphine in the laboratory rat
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The seemingly unrelated stereotyped locomotor "acts" reported in the literature to be produced by apomorphine in rats are shown to be composites, whose form and sequence are determined by the particular values of a few component variables which form a common denominator in each of the behaviors. Three variables, continuous snout contact, forward progression and turning, account for much of the behavior. In the course of the drug's action these emerge in succession and vary in amount, the latter two successively reaching a peak and subsiding. The interaction between forward progression and turning yields in sequence, forward walking, circling, revolving, tight pivoting and finally side-to-side movements of the forequarters around the relatively stationary hindquarters. Later behaviors in this list are gradually incorporated into the sequence as earlier ones are eliminated. The course of change in forward progression and turning is also reflected in changes in the sequence and in the direction of stepping of each of the four legs. The order in which the behavior unfolds under the drug is opposite to that manifested in ontogeny and in recovery from lateral hypothalamic damage, suggesting that at the particular high dose used, apomorphine is acting not only to activate the behavior but also to shut it down.
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