Dopamine D3 receptor mutant mice exhibit increased behavioral sensitivity to concurrent stimulation of D1 and D2 receptors

Neuron. 1997 Oct;19(4):837-48. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80965-4.


The dopamine D3 receptor is expressed primarily in regions of the brain that are thought to influence motivation and motor functions. To specify in vivo D3 receptor function, we generated mutant mice lacking this receptor. Our analysis indicates that in a novel environment, D3 mutant mice are transiently more active than wild-type mice, an effect not associated with anxiety state. Moreover, D3 mutant mice exhibit enhanced behavioral sensitivity to combined injections of D1 and D2 class receptor agonists, cocaine and amphetamine. However, the combined electrophysiological effects of the same D1 and D2 agonists on single neurons within the nucleus accumbens were not altered by the D3 receptor mutation. We conclude that one function of the D3 receptor is to modulate behaviors by inhibiting the cooperative effects of postsynaptic D1 and other D2 class receptors at systems level.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Anxiety
  • Chimera
  • Cocaine / pharmacology
  • Conditioning, Operant
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Cues
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Female
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / deficiency
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D3


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Drd3 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Receptors, Dopamine D3
  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine