• animal model;
  • development;
  • dopamine receptors;
  • microdialysis;
  • schizophrenia;
  • voltametry


Excitotoxic neonatal ventral hippocampus (NVH) lesions in rats result in characteristic post-pubertal hyper-responsiveness to stress and cognitive abnormalities analogous to those described in schizophrenia and suggestive of alterations in dopamine (DA) neurotransmission. Converging lines of evidence also point to dysfunctions in the cortical cholinergic system in neuropsychiatric disorders. In previous studies, we observed alterations in dopaminergic modulation of acetylcholine (Ach) release in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in post-pubertal NVH-lesioned rats. These two neurotransmitter systems are involved in the stress response as PFC release of DA and Ach is enhanced in response to some stressful stimuli. As adult NVH-lesioned rats are behaviorally more reactive to stress, we investigated the effects of NVH lesions on tail-pinch stress-induced Ach and DA release in the PFC. Using in vivo microdialysis, we observed that tail-pinch stress resulted in significantly greater increases in prefrontal cortical Ach release in post-pubertal NVH-lesioned rats (220% baseline) compared with sham-operated controls (135% baseline). Systemic administration of the D1-like receptor antagonist SCH 23390 (0.5 mg/kg i.p.) or the D2-like receptor antagonist haloperidol (0.2 mg/kg i.p.), as well as intra-PFC administration of the D2-like antagonist sulpiride (100 µm), reduced stress-induced Ach release in PFC of adult NVH-lesioned rats. By contrast, intra-PFC administration of SCH 23390 (100 µm) failed to affect stress-induced Ach release in PFC of NVH-lesioned rats. Interestingly, using in vivo voltammetry, stress-induced stimulation of PFC DA release was found to be attenuated in adult NVH-lesioned rats. Taken together, these data suggest developmentally specific reorganization of prefrontal cortical cholinergic innervation notably regarding its regulation by DA neurotransmission.