Antagonism of the discrminative stimulus effects of cocaine at two training doses by dopamine D2-like receptor antagonists

Rino Costanza, David Barber, Philip Terry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: The relative contributions of different dopamine receptor subtypes to the discriminative stimulus effects of cocaine may be influenced by the training dose of cocaine. Substitution tests with dopamine receptor agonists have suggested that the role of dopamine D2-like receptors is diminished relative to that of D1-like receptors at a training dose of 3 mg/kg cocaine compared with a training dose of 10 mg/kg. Objectives: To test whether dopamine D2-like receptor antagonists were differentially effective at attenuating cocaine's discriminative stimulus effects at different training doses, and to test for the first time an antagonist that is selective for the dopamine D2 receptor within the D2-like receptor subfamily. Methods: Rats were trained to press one lever after receiving cocaine and another after receiving saline (maintaining >95% drug-appropriate responding). Three dopamine D2-like receptor antagonists (haloperidol, raclopride and L-741,626) were tested in rats trained at 3 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg cocaine. At the lower training dose, the D1-like receptor antagonist SCH 39166 was also tested. Results: The antagonists were not differentially effective between training groups: they all produced parallel, rightward shifts in cocaine's dose-effect function. indicating surmountable antagonism. Conclusions: The results demonstrate that D2-like receptor antagonists with different affinities for the various D2-like receptors can antagonise the discriminative stimulus effects of cocaine at two training doses. Importantly, antagonism by L-741,626 implies that stimulation of D2 receptors alone (not D3 or D4 receptors) is sufficient to mediate cocaine's discriminative stimulus effects. Finally, the claim that D1-like receptors are preferentially involved at low training doses of cocaine is only consistent with the current findings if indirect stimulation of D2 receptors by low doses of cocaine remains necessary for the expression of the D1-like receptor-mediated effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-153
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2001


  • haloperidol
  • raclopride
  • drug discrimination
  • cocaine
  • D2-like receptor
  • D1-like receptor
  • rat
  • L-741,626


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