Differential actions of classical and atypical antipsychotic drugs on spontaneous neuronal activity in the amygdaloid complex

George V. Rebec, Kevin D. Alloway, Theodore R. Bashore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Classical antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol produce akinesia and catalepsy, whereas clozapine and related atypical antipsychotics fail to elicit these behaviors even at relatively high doses. Despite these behavioral differences, a cataleptic dose of haloperidol (2.0 mg/kg) produces changes in neuronal activity in the neostriatum and nucleus accumbens comparable to those produced by a non-cataleptic dose of clozapine (20.0 mg/kg). To further elucidate the brain mechanisms underlying the differential behavioral response to these drugs, an electrophysiological analysis was extended to neurons in the rat amygdaloid complex. Whereas an intraperitoneal injection of 2.0 mg/kg haloperidol generally failed to alter the firing rate of amygdaloid neurons, 20.0 mg/kg clozapine typically produced a prolonged increase in activity. Similarly, clozapine, but not haloperidol, reversed the depression of firing rate produced by 1.0 mg/kg d-amphetamine. The results suggest that neurons in the amygdaloid complex are more responsive to antipsychotic drugs devoid of extrapyramidal side effects than to antipsychotics which elicit parkinsonian-like motor dysfunctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1981


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this