Short- and long-term effects of risperidone on catalepsy sensitisation and acquisition of conditioned avoidance response: Adolescent vs adult rats

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The effects of antipsychotic drugs (APDs) on the adolescent brain are poorly understood despite a dramatic increase in prescription of these drugs in adolescents over the past twenty years. Neuronal systems continue to be remodeled during adolescence. Therefore, when given in adolescence, antipsychotic drugs (APDs) have the potential to affect this remodeling. In this study we investigated the effects of chronic 22-day risperidone treatment (1.3 mg/kg/day) in both adolescent and adult rats. We examined short- and long-term changes in behaviour (catalepsy, locomotion and conditioned avoidance response (CAR)), and dopaminergic and serotonergic neurochemistry in the striatum and the nucleus accumbens. Here, we report that, both during chronic treatment and after a lengthy drug-free interval, risperidone induced a sensitised cataleptic response regardless of the age of exposure. Selectively in adolescents, risperidone-induced catalepsy was inversely correlated with striatal dopamine turnover immediately after chronic treatment. After a drug-free interval, a significant proportion of rats with prior adolescent risperidone treatment also failed to acquire CAR to a defined criterion. Our data provide evidence that the same chronic risperidone treatment regimen can induce contrasting short- and long-term neural outcomes in the adolescent and adult brains.

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