cAMP response element binding protein phosphorylation in nucleus accumbens underlies sustained recovery of sensorimotor gating following repeated D₂-like receptor agonist treatment in rats

Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Feb 1;69(3):288-94. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.08.032. Epub 2010 Oct 30.


Background: Prepulse inhibition (PPI) is a cross-species measure of sensorimotor gating. PPI deficits are observed in humans and rats upon acute treatment with dopamine D₂-like receptor agonists and in patients with schizophrenia. Repeated treatment with a D₂-like agonist, however, reverses PPI deficits and increases cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) signaling in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). This study examined the short- and long-term effects on PPI of treatment with quinpirole and ropinirole, dopamine D₂/D₃ receptor agonists, and the molecular mechanism by which they occur.

Methods: PPI was assessed in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats following acute and chronic treatment with quinpirole or ropinirole and 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks after termination of repeated ropinirole treatment. Finally, the effect of dominant negative mutant cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) overexpression in the NAc on PPI following chronic quinpirole treatment was assessed.

Results: Acute quinpirole produced dose-dependent PPI deficits, whereas ropinirole caused consistent PPI reduction at all but the highest dose. Repeated ropinirole treatment significantly increased PPI compared with acute treatment, and increased CREB phosphorylation in NAc neurons. Subsequent ropinirole challenge had no effect as long as 28 days later, at which time NAc CREB phosphorylation had normalized. Overexpression of dominant negative mutant CREB prevented PPI recovery induced by chronic quinpirole treatment.

Conclusions: Chronic quinpirole or ropinirole treatment produces sustained PPI recovery; CREB activity in the NAc is required to induce PPI recovery but not to maintain it. The results suggest that transcriptional regulation by CREB mediates long-lasting changes occurring within NAc circuits to promote recovery of sensorimotor gating.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Animals
  • CREB-Binding Protein / genetics
  • CREB-Binding Protein / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage
  • Indoles / administration & dosage
  • Indoles / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Quinpirole / administration & dosage
  • Quinpirole / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sensory Gating / drug effects*
  • Sensory Gating / physiology*


  • Indoles
  • ropinirole
  • Quinpirole
  • CREB-Binding Protein
  • Crebbp protein, rat