Brain temperature responses to salient stimuli persist during dopamine receptor blockade despite a blockade of locomotor responses

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We examined how an acute dopamine (DA) receptor blockade affects locomotor and brain (nucleus accumbens or NAcc), muscle and skin temperature responses to three arousing stimuli (procedure of sc injection, tail-pinch and social interaction with another male rat) and intravenous cocaine (1 mg/kg). DA receptor blockade was induced by mixture of D1- (SCH23390) and D-2 selective (eticlopride) DA antagonists at 0.2 mg/kg doses. Each arousing stimulus and cocaine caused locomotor activation, prolonged increase in NAcc and muscle temperature (0.6–1.0 °C for 20–50 min) and transient skin hypothermia (− 0.6 °C for 1–3 min) in drug-naive conditions. DA receptor blockade strongly decreased basal locomotor activity, but moderately increased brain, muscle and skin temperatures. Therefore, selective interruption of DA transmission does not inhibit the brain, making it more metabolically active and warmer despite skin vasodilatation and the enhanced heat loss to the body and the external environment. DA antagonists strongly decreased locomotor responses to all stimuli and cocaine, had no effects on acute skin vasoconstriction, but differentially affected stimuli- and drug-induced changes in NAcc and muscle temperatures. While brain and muscle temperatures induced by cocaine were fully blocked and both temperatures slightly decreased, temperature increases induced by tail-pinch and social interaction, despite a significant attenuation, persisted during DA receptor blockade. These data are discussed to define the role of the DA system in regulating the central activation processes and behavioral responsiveness to natural arousing and drug stimuli.

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