Ventral hippocampal dopamine D1 and D2 systems and spatial working memory in rats

Neuroscience. 1999 Mar;89(3):743-9. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(98)00346-7.


The hippocampus has long been known to be important for memory function. However, the involvement of hippocampal dopamine systems with memory has received little attention. In the current study, dopamine D1 and D2 hippocampal receptor system involvement with memory was assessed in female Sprague-Dawley rats by local infusion of D1 and D2 agonists and antagonists into the ventral hippocampus. Working memory performance was assessed on the radial-arm maze. Neither the D1 agonist dihydrexidine (1.1-10 microg/side) nor the D1 antagonist SCH 23390 (0.19-1.67 microg/side) was effective in significantly altering radial-arm maze choice accuracy. In contrast, there were significant and opposite effects of D2 agonist and antagonist treatments. The D2 agonist quinpirole caused a significant (P<0.05) dose-related improvement in choice accuracy over a dose range of 1.1-10 microg/side. In a complementary fashion, the D2 antagonist raclopride caused a significant (P<0.05) dose-related choice accuracy deficit over a range of 0.19-1.67 microg/side. This study provides clear evidence that hippocampal D2 activity is positively related to working memory performance, while evidence for D1 systems is less compelling. Dopamine D2 receptors in the ventral hippocampus were shown to have important influences on spatial working memory. In a consistent pattern of effects ventral hippocampal infusion of the D2 agonist quinpirole improved working memory performance in the radial-arm maze, while ventral hippocampal infusion of the D2 antagonist raclopride impaired performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzazepines / pharmacology
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Maze Learning / drug effects*
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Phenanthridines / pharmacology
  • Quinpirole / pharmacology
  • Raclopride
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / agonists
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / agonists
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / physiology*
  • Salicylamides / pharmacology
  • Spatial Behavior / drug effects
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology*


  • Benzazepines
  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists
  • Phenanthridines
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Salicylamides
  • Quinpirole
  • dihydrexidine
  • Raclopride
  • Dopamine