Enhanced dopamine D2 autoreceptor function in the adult prefrontal cortex contributes to dopamine hypoactivity following adolescent social stress

Matthew A. Weber, Eric T. Graack, Jamie L. Scholl, Kenneth J. Renner, Gina L. Forster, Michael J. Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Adult psychiatric disorders characterized by cognitive deficits reliant on prefrontal cortex (PFC) dopamine are promoted by teenage bullying. Similarly, male Sprague-Dawley rats exposed to social defeat in mid-adolescence (P35-39) show impaired working memory in adulthood (P56-70), along with decreased medial PFC (mPFC) dopamine activity that results in part from increased dopamine transporter-mediated clearance. Here, we determined if dopamine synthesis and D2 autoreceptor-mediated inhibition of dopamine release in the adult mPFC are also enhanced by adolescent defeat to contribute to later dopamine hypofunction. Control and previously defeated rats did not differ in either DOPA accumulation following amino acid decarboxylase inhibition (NSD-1015 100 mg/kg ip.) or total/phosphorylated tyrosine hydroxylase protein expression, suggesting dopamine synthesis in the adult mPFC is not altered by adolescent defeat. However, exposure to adolescent defeat caused greater decreases in extracellular dopamine release (measured using in vivo chronoamperometry) in the adult mPFC upon local infusion of the D2 receptor agonist quinpirole (3 nM), implying greater D2 autoreceptor function. Equally enhanced D2 autoreceptor-mediated inhibition of dopamine release is seen in the adolescent (P40 or P49) mPFC, which declines in control rats by adulthood. However, this developmental decrease in autoreceptor function is absent following adolescent defeat, suggesting retention of an adolescent-like phenotype into adulthood. Current and previous findings indicate adolescent defeat decreases extracellular dopamine availability in the adult mPFC via both enhanced inhibition of dopamine release and increased dopamine clearance, which may be viable targets for improving treatment of cognitive deficits seen in neuropsychiatric disorders promoted by adolescent stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1833-1850
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018



  • bullying
  • dopamine transporter
  • social defeat
  • tyrosine hydroxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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