Yawning and locomotor behavior induced by dopamine receptor agonists in mice and rats

Su Min Li, Gregory T. Collins, Noel M. Paul, Peter Grundt, Amy H. Newman, Ming Xu, David K. Grandy, James H. Woods, Jonathan L. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Dopaminergic (DA) agonist-induced yawning in rats seems to be mediated by DA D3 receptors, and low doses of several DA agonists decrease locomotor activity, an effect attributed to presynaptic D2 receptors. Effects of several DA agonists on yawning and locomotor activity were examined in rats and mice. Yawning was reliably produced in rats, and by the cholinergic agonist, physostigmine, in both the species. However, DA agonists were ineffective in producing yawning in Swiss-Webster or DA D2R and DA D3R knockout or wild-type mice. The drugs significantly decreased locomotor activity in rats at one or two low doses, with activity returning to control levels at higher doses. In mice, the drugs decreased locomotion across a 1000-1000-10000-fold range of doses, with activity at control levels (U-91356A) or above control levels [(±)-7-hydroxy-2-dipropylaminotetralin HBr, quinpirole] at the highest doses. Low doses of agonists decreased locomotion in all mice except the DA D2R knockout mice, but were not antagonized by DA D2R or D3R antagonists (L-741 626, BP 897, or PG01037). Yawning does not provide a selective in-vivo indicator of DA D3R agonist activity in mice. Decreases in mouse locomotor activity by the DA agonists seem to be mediated by D2 DA receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010


  • 7-OH-DPAT
  • BP 897
  • Dopamine D2/D3 receptor
  • Dopamine agonist
  • Knockout mouse
  • L-741626
  • PD 128907
  • PG01037
  • Quinpirole
  • U-91356A


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