The monoamine-oxidase B inhibitor deprenyl increases selection of high-effort activity in rats tested on a progressive ratio/chow feeding choice procedure: Implications for treating motivational dysfunctions

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Motivated behaviors often are characterized by a high degree of behavioral activation and work output, and organisms frequently make effort-related decisions based upon cost/benefit analyses. Moreover, people with depression and other disorders frequently show effort-related motivational symptoms, such as anergia, psychomotor retardation, and fatigue. Tasks measuring effort-related choice are being used as animal models of these motivational symptoms. The present studies characterized the ability of the monoamine oxidase –B (MAO-B) inhibitor deprenyl (selegiline) to enhance selection of high-effort lever pressing in rats tested on a concurrent progressive ratio (PROG)/chow feeding choice task. Deprenyl is widely used as an antiparkinsonian drug, but it also has been shown to have antidepressant effects in humans, and to induce antidepressant-like effects in traditional rodent models of depression. Systemic administration of deprenyl (1.5–12.0 mg/kg IP) shifted choice behavior, significantly increasing markers of PROG lever pressing at a moderate dose (6.0 mg/kg), and decreasing chow intake at 6.0 and 12.0 mg/kg. Intracranial injections of deprenyl into nucleus accumbens (2.0 and 4.0 μg) also increased PROG lever pressing and decreased chow intake. Microdialysis studies showed that the dose of deprenyl that was effective at increasing PROG lever pressing (6.0 mg/kg) also significantly elevated extracellular dopamine in nucleus accumbens. Thus, similar to the well-known antidepressant bupropion, deprenyl is capable of increasing selection of high-effort PROG lever pressing at doses that increase extracellular dopamine in nucleus accumbens. These studies have implications for the potential use of MAO-B inhibitors as treatments for the motivational symptoms of depression and Parkinsonism.

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