Locomotion induced by ventral tegmental microinjections of a nicotinic agonist

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1990 Mar;35(3):735-7. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(90)90316-a.


Bilateral microinjections of the nicotinic agonist cytisine (0.1, 1 or 10 nanomoles per side) into the ventral tegmental area increased locomotor activity. This increase in locomotion was antagonized by mecamylamine (2 mg/kg, IP), a nicotinic antagonist that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier, and by pimozide (0.3 mg/kg, IP), a central dopaminergic antagonist. Hexamethonium (2 mg/kg, IP), a nicotinic antagonist that, unlike mecamylamine, does not cross the blood-brain barrier, had no effect; this suggests that mecamylamine's attenuation of cytisine-induced locomotor activity resulted from a blockade of central and not peripheral nicotinic receptors. The data support the notion that nicotinic and dopaminergic substrates interact at the level of the VTA to produce increases in locomotor activity.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Azocines
  • Male
  • Mecamylamine / pharmacology
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Pimozide / pharmacology
  • Quinolizines
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Dopamine / drug effects
  • Receptors, Dopamine / physiology
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / physiology*
  • Tegmentum Mesencephali / drug effects
  • Tegmentum Mesencephali / physiology*


  • Alkaloids
  • Azocines
  • Quinolizines
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Pimozide
  • cytisine
  • Mecamylamine