Posture-independent sensorimotor analysis of inter-hemispheric receptor asymmetries in neostriatum

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1983 May;18(5):753-9. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(83)90019-9.


Nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons are thought to be critically important for somato-sensorimotor behavior. Following unilateral irreversible elimination of these neurons, an animal shows an ipsiversive postural bias and permanently fails to orient its head toward tactile stimuli placed on the contralateral side of the body. In response to apomorphine, a dopamine agonist, these rats display contraversive circling. This effect is thought to reflect denervation-induced proliferation of dopamine receptors in the ipsilateral striatum. We have developed a sensitive procedure that measures sensorimotor function independent of postural and circling biases. We record the latencies to remove small pieces of adhesive stimuli placed onto the snout or radial surface of the forelimbs. The stimuli are placed symmetrically and simultaneously, which is analogous to tactile-extinction procedures used clinically. In the first study we found that rats with unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced lesions of the nigrostriatal pathway showed a contralateral sensorimotor bias in response to doses of apomorphine below those necessary to produce contraversive circling. In a second study, unilateral striatal microinjections of kainic acid (KA) were used to destroy the neurons on which the postsynaptic dopaminergic receptors of the nigrostriatal system are contained. Compared to 6-OHDA, KA produced unexpected results in standard orientation tests. None of the KA-treated rats showed contralateral neglect, and some even showed ipsilateral deficits. However, the standard orientation tests are confounded by postural asymmetries, which were irregular in the KA-treated group. Using again the posture-independent sensorimotor procedure, we found that all KA-treated rats, like the 6-OHDA-treated rats, uniformly displayed ipsilateral sensorimotor biases. Sensorimotor function relating to inter-striatal asymmetries may be more specifically assessed with the bilateral-adhesive tests.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Forelimb / innervation
  • Functional Laterality
  • Hydroxydopamines / pharmacology
  • Kainic Acid / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Oxidopamine
  • Posture
  • Radius / physiology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Spiperone / metabolism
  • Substantia Nigra / physiology
  • Ulna / physiology


  • Hydroxydopamines
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Spiperone
  • Oxidopamine
  • Apomorphine
  • Kainic Acid
  • Dopamine