Phencyclidine (PCP), a noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, increases locomotor activity inrodents and causes schizophrenia-like symptoms in humans. Although activation of the dopamine (DA) pathway is hypothesized to mediate these effects of PCP, the precise mechanisms by which PCP induces its effects remain to be elucidated. The present study investigated the effect of PCP on extracellular levels of DA (DAex) in the striatum and prefrontal cortex (PFC) using in vivo microdialysis in mice lacking the NMDA receptor channel e1 or e4 subunit (GluRε1 [GluN2A] or GluRε4 [GluN2D]) and locomotor activity. PCP significantly increased DAex in wildtype and GluRε1 knockout mice, but not in luRe4 knockout mice, in the striatum and PFC. Acute and repeated administration of PCP did not increase locomotor activity in GluRε4 knockout mice. The present results suggest that PCP enhances dopaminergic transmission and increases locomotor activity by acting at GluRε4.
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