Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
In vivo microdialysis and behavioural studies in the domestic chick have shown that glutamatergic as well as monoaminergic neurotransmission in the medio-rostral neostriatum/hyperstriatum ventrale (MNH) is altered after auditory filial imprinting. In the present study, using pharmaco-behavioural and in vivo microdialysis approaches, the role of dopaminergic neurotransmission in this juvenile learning event was further evaluated. The results revealed that: (i) the systemic application of the potent dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol (7.5 mg/kg) strongly impairs auditory filial imprinting; (ii) systemic haloperidol induces a tetrodotoxin-sensitive increase of extracellular levels of the dopamine metabolite, homovanillic acid, in the MNH, whereas the levels of glutamate, taurine and the serotonin metabolite, 5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid, remain unchanged; (iii) haloperidol (0.01, 0.1, 1 m m ) infused locally into the MNH increases glutamate, taurine and 5- hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid levels in a dose-dependent manner, whereas homovanillic acid levels remain unchanged; (iv) systemic haloperidol infusion reinforces the N -methyl- d -aspartate receptor-mediated inhibitory modulation of the dopaminergic neurotransmission within the MNH. These results indicate that the modulation of dopaminergic function and its interaction with other neurotransmitter systems in a higher associative forebrain region of the juvenile avian brain displays similar neurochemical characteristics as the adult mammalian prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, we were able to show that the pharmacological manipulation of monoaminergic regulatory mechanisms interferes with learning and memory formation, events which in a similar fashion might occur in young or adult mammals.
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