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Effects of acute pramipexole on preference for gambling-like schedules in male Wistar rats

By Patrick Steven Johnson


In recent years, pramipexole and other direct-acting dopamine agonist medications have been implicated in the development of impulsive behaviors such as pathological gambling in patients with Parkinson's disease. Despite the significance of these clinical findings, experimental evaluations of pramipexole's effects on gambling are lacking. To this end, the present study used an animal model approximating some aspects of human gambling to examine within-subject effects of acute pramipexole on rats' preferences for gambling-like sources of reinforcement. Pramipexole modestly but significantly increased preferences for gambling-like reinforcement when compared to saline. Pramipexole also increased response latencies, but did not affect probabilities of response perseveration. The findings of the present study are consistent with clinical reports linking pramipexole to gambling. Results are discussed in the context of neurobehavioral evidence suggesting a critical role for dopamine in reward- and punishment-related learning processes

Topics: Behavioral psychology, Dopamine agonist, Impulsive behavior, Parkinson's disease, Pathological gambling, Pramipexole, Rat
Publisher: 'Paleontological Institute at The University of Kansas'
Year: 2009
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Provided by: KU ScholarWorks
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