High fat diet and food restriction differentially modify the behavioral effects of quinpirole and raclopride in rats

Michelle G. Baladi, Charles P. France

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Nutritional status can impact dopamine systems in a manner that might be important to understanding possible common neurobiological mechanisms that mediate abnormal compulsive food (e.g., obesity) and drug taking. Limiting food intake, for example, can increase sensitivity to the behavioral effects of indirect-acting dopamine receptor agonists. Much less is known regarding possible diet-induced changes in sensitivity to direct-acting dopamine receptor drugs. The present study investigated the effects of a high fat diet and of food restriction on sensitivity of rats to the behavioral effects of a direct-acting dopamine receptor agonist and a dopamine receptor antagonist. Free access to high fat chow increased sensitivity to quinpirole-induced yawning without changing sensitivity to raclopride-induced catalepsy or quinpirole-induced hypothermia. Food restriction (10 g/day) decreased sensitivity to quinpirole-induced yawning and raclopride-induced catalepsy without affecting sensitivity to quinpirole-induced hypothermia. Free access to a standard chow restored sensitivity to the behavioral effects of both drugs in rats that were previously food-restricted but not in rats that previously ate a high fat diet. These data confirm that food restriction can decrease sensitivity to behavioral effects of direct-acting dopamine receptor drugs, they provide evidence (i.e., no change in hypothermic effects) indicating that these changes are not due to pharmacokinetic mechanisms, and they provide initial evidence showing enhanced sensitivity to behavioral effects of dopamine receptor drugs in rats eating a high fat diet. These changes in sensitivity of dopamine systems could be relevant to understanding the impact of nutrition on therapeutic and recreational drug use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-60
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - May 21 2009



  • Dopamine receptor
  • Food restriction
  • High fat diet
  • Quinpirole
  • Raclopride
  • Yawning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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