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Effect of unilateral injection of MK-801 into the area of A10 cells on feeding evoked by stimulation of homologous area in the contralateral hemisphere

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It was found previously that unilateral electrolytic and 6-OHDA lesions of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and unilateral intra-VTA injection of bicuculline resulted in facilitation of behavioral responses evoked by electrical stimulation of the symmetrical VTA area in the contralateral hemisphere. We postulated that ?the contralateral facilitation effect?, which may reflect the yet unexplored mechanism of immediate compensation after acute unilateral brain injury, is attributable to the A10 DA neurons and their regulatory inputs. The present study was aimed at examining the possible involvement of NMDA-mediated glutamatergic transmission in VTA in the ?contralateral facilitation effect?. The behavioral model of the VTA stimulation-induced feeding in rats was used. Latency to eat was measured as a function of stimulation frequency before and after unilateral intra-VTA injection of non-competitive NMDA receptors antagonist, MK-801, (doses 0.0, 1.25 and 2.5 mg). MK-801 caused a dose-dependent augmentation of feeding evoked by stimulation of the contralateral VTA, which manifested as a decrease in the reaction frequency threshold and a leftward shift of the latency/frequency curve. Dose 2.5 mg replicated the facilitatory effect of electrolytic and 6-OHDA lesions. The results are interpreted in terms of MK-801-evoked depression of excitatory glutamatergic tone over A10 DA cells and compensatory increase in DA release in the contralateral hemisphere.



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W. Trojniar, Department of Animal Physiology, University of Gdansk, 24 Kladki St, 80-822 Gdansk, Poland, E-mail: trojniar@biotech@univ.gda.pl


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