Antagonism of the nicotine-induced changes of the striatal dopamine metabolism in mice by mecamylamine and pempidine

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 1988 Aug;338(2):169-73. doi: 10.1007/BF00174865.


The ability of nicotinic receptor blockers, mecamylamine and pempidine, to antagonize the changes in striatal dopamine (DA) metabolism induced by repeated nicotine administration was studied. The contents of DA and its metabolites 3-methoxytyramine (3-MT), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homovanillic acid (HVA) were measured. Mice kept at 20-22 degrees C were given nicotine, 3 mg/kg, s.c., four times, at 30 min intervals, and sacrificed 20 min after the last dose. Hexamethonium, 10 mg/kg, i.p., was administered at 30 min before the first nicotine dose in order to prevent the peripheral effects of nicotine. Mecamylamine, 0.6 or 10 mg/kg, i.p., and pempidine, 0.6 or 20 mg/kg, i.p., were given at 60 min before sacrifice. Mecamylamine and pempidine decreased clearly the striatal 3-MT content, which suggests that the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons are physiologically controlled by a stimulatory nicotinic mechanism. The repeatedly administered nicotine caused deep hypothermia, and increased the striatal DOPAC content but decreased the 3-MT and HVA contents. The small dose of mecamylamine, which was the only dose found to effectively antagonize the nicotine-induced hypothermia, antagonized the decrease of HVA content. The large but not the small doses of mecamylamine and pempidine antagonized the nicotine-induced increase of DOPAC content but none of the doses studied antagonized the decrease of 3-MT content. Thus it seems that nicotine decreases the 3-MT content by a mechanism distinct from the mechanism mediating the increase of the DOPAC content. The decreased 3-MT content most probably results from desensitization of nicotinic cholinergic receptors (nAChR) and following decrease of cholinergic regulation of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mecamylamine / pharmacology*
  • Metallothionein 3
  • Mice
  • Nicotine / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Pempidine / pharmacology*


  • Metallothionein 3
  • Mt3 protein, mouse
  • Mecamylamine
  • Nicotine
  • Pempidine
  • Dopamine