The use of (-)DP-5,6-ADTN as a non-radio-actively labeled ligand for an in vivo DA receptor assay is described and compared with racemic DP-5,6-ADTN, previously used for that purpose. The effects of four DA agonists (NPA, bromocriptine, DP-7-OH-ATN and 3-PPP) on the specific (-)DP-5,6-ADTN binding are related to their potencies to decrease striatal HVA concentrations and to induce stereotypy in rats. NPA and DP-7-OH-ATN caused a maximal decrease in HVA levels, when only a fraction of the receptors were occupied, while the occurrence of stereotypy was associated with a high receptor occupation, reflecting the higher affinity of these agonists for presynaptic than for postsynaptic receptors. Bromocriptine did not show this effect, as the dose-response relationships for HVA decrease, for induction of stereotypy and for the decrease in specific (-)DP-5,6-ADTN binding were all virtually equal to each other. While NPA and bromocriptine behaved as full postsynaptic agonists, in that maximal stereotyped behavior was observed after high doses, DP-7-OH-ATN was found to be a partial postsynaptic agonist, as it did not induce maximal stereotypy at a maximal receptor occupation. Racemic 3-PPP only caused a state of hypoactivity, but did neither affect specific (-)DP-5,6-ADTN binding nor striatal HVA levels. Our results are discussed in view of theories on the relation between receptor occupation and pharmacological effects and it is concluded that the in vivo receptor binding method using (-)DP-5,6-ADTN is a very useful tool for such investigations.
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