Rationale: Previous studies indicate antagonism of cocaine-stimulated locomotor activity by dopamine D2-like receptor antagonists, but only at doses of the antagonists, that by themselves attenuate locomotor activity, raising questions of the specificity of the interaction and whether it might be due solely to a summation of opposing effects.
Objectives: The interactions of cocaine and several D2-like dopamine antagonists and non-dopamine "physiological antagonists" were compared across a full range of doses in order to fully characterize the interaction and assess the specificity of the effects of dopamine antagonists and cocaine.
Methods: Swiss-Webster mice were treated with either vehicle, a D2-like antagonist (haloperidol, spiperone, raclopride, spiperone, (+) or (-) eticlopride), or a "physiological" antagonist (chlordiazepoxide, clonidine, or R(-) N6-(2-phenylisopropyl)adenosine) and cocaine (5-80 mg/kg) prior to a 30-min locomotor activity test.
Results: All test drugs decreased locomotor activity when given alone. All test drugs attenuated cocaine-induced locomotion and decreased peak responding to cocaine. In general, the D2-like antagonists also decreased maximal responding to cocaine and decreased the slope of the ascending limb of the cocaine dose-effect curve, effects not obtained with physiological antagonists.
Conclusions: Blockade of D2-like receptors resulted in an interaction with cocaine that was fundamentally different from that produced through non-dopaminergic mechanisms and appears to be more than a summation of opposing effects. The present data suggest that D2-like receptors are involved in the mechanisms underlying the induction of locomotor activity by cocaine.