Dopaminergic medication for Parkinson’s disease is associated with troubling dystonia and dyskinesia and, in rodents, dopaminergic agonists likewise induce a variety of orofacial motor responses, certain of which are mimicked by serotonin2C (5-HT2C
) receptor agonists. However, the neural substrates underlying these communalities and their interrelationship remain unclear. In Sprague-Dawley rats, the dopaminergic agonist, apomorphine (0.03–0.3 mg/kg) and the preferential D2/3 receptor agonist quinpirole (0.2–0.5 mg/kg), induced purposeless oral movements (chewing, jaw tremor, tongue darting). The 5-HT2C
receptor antagonist 5-methyl-1-[[2-[(2-methyl-3-pyridyl)oxyl]-5-pyridyl]carbamoyl]-6-trifluoromethylindone (SB 243213) (1 mg/kg) reduced the oral responses elicited by specific doses of both agonists (0.1 mg/kg apomorphine; 0.5 mg/kg quinpirole). After having confirmed that the oral bouts induced by quinpirole 0.5 mg/kg were blocked by another 5-HT2C
antagonist (6-chloro-5-methyl-1-[6-(2-methylpiridin-3-yloxy)pyridine-3-yl carbamoyl] indoline (SB 242084), 1 mg/kg), we mapped the changes in neuronal activity in numerous sub-territories of the basal ganglia using c-Fos expression. We found a marked increase of c-Fos expression in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in combining quinpirole (0.5 mg/kg) with either SB 243213 or SB 242084. In a parallel set of electrophysiological experiments, the same combination of SB 243213/quinpirole produced an irregular pattern of discharge and an increase in the firing rate of STN neurons. Finally, it was shown that upon the electrical stimulation of the anterior cingulate cortex, quinpirole (0.5 mg/kg) increased the response of substantia nigra pars reticulata neurons corresponding to activation of the “hyperdirect” (cortico-subthalamonigral) pathway. This effect of quinpirole was abolished by the two 5-HT2C
antagonists. Collectively, these results suggest that induction of orofacial motor responses by D2/3 receptor stimulation involves 5-HT2C
receptor-mediated activation of the STN by recruitment of the hyperdirect (cortico-subthalamonigral) pathway.
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