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Tolerance to the cataleptic effect that follows repeated nitric oxide synthase inhibition may be related to functional enzymatic recovery

, : Tolerance to the cataleptic effect that follows repeated nitric oxide synthase inhibition may be related to functional enzymatic recovery. Journal of Psychopharmacology 24(3): 397-405

Systemic or intra-striatal acute administration of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitors causes catalepsy in rodents. This effect disappears after sub-chronic treatment. The aim of the present study was to investigate if this tolerance is related to changes in the expression of NOS or dopamine-2 (D2) receptor or to a recovery of NOS activity. Male albino Swiss mice (25-30 g) received single or sub-chronic (once a day for 4 days) i.p. injections of saline or L-nitro-arginine (L-NOARG, 40 mg/kg), a non-selective inhibitor of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS). Twenty-four hours after the last injection, the animals were killed and their brains were removed for immunohistochemistry assay to detect the presence of nNOS or for 'in-situ' hybridisation study using (35)S-labeled oligonucleotide probe complementary to D2 receptor mRNA. The results were analysed by computerised densitometry. Independent groups of animals received the same treatment, but were submitted to the catalepsy test and had their brain removed to measure nitrite and nitrate (NOx) concentrations in the striatum. Acute administration of L-NOARG caused catalepsy that disappeared after sub-chronic treatment. The levels of NOx were significantly reduced after acute L-NOARG treatment. The decrease in NOx after drug injection suffered a partial tolerance after sub-chronic treatment. The catalepsy time after acute or sub-chronic treatment with L-NOARG was negatively (r = -0.717) correlated with NOx levels. Animals that received repeated L-NOARG injections also showed an increase in the number of nNOS-positive neurons in the striatum. No change in D2 receptor mRNA expression was found in the dorsal striatum, nucleus accumbens and substantia nigra. Together, these results suggest that tolerance to L-NOARG cataleptic effects do not depend on changes in D2 receptors. They may depend, however, on plastic changes in nNOS neurons resulting in partial recovery of NO formation in the striatum.


PMID: 18838497

DOI: 10.1177/0269881108097717

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