Brattleboro rats (BRATs) have natural deficits in prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle response similar to those exhibited by schizophrenia patients, which are reversed by antipsychotics. We sought to determine whether they also have increases in striatal dopamine-2 (D2) receptors found in some studies examining the brains of schizophrenia patients.
Several days after startle testing, the brains of BRAT and Long Evans (LE) rats were removed, and D1 and D2 receptor levels were measured by autoradiography.
PPI was lower in BRATs consistent with previous reports. D2, but not D1, receptor binding was significantly higher in the nucleus accumbens shell and the dorsomedial caudate of BRAT compared with LE rats, consistent with some findings in schizophrenia patients. Furthermore, individual rat PPI was inversely correlated with D2 binding density.
These findings suggest that the dopamine system in BRATs is dysregulated and these abnormalities may contribute to the PPI deficits observed in these rats.
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Published online: June 29, 2006
Accepted: March 31, 2006
Received in revised form: March 20, 2006
Received: January 31, 2005
© 2006 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.