To clarify the psychopharmacological profile of blonanserin, a novel antipsychotic, we examined its effect on the methamphetamine-induced disruption of latent inhibition (LI) and the neural activation related to this effect in rats. To evaluate the LI, we used a conditioned emotional response in which a tone (conditioned stimulus) was paired with a mild foot shock (unconditioned stimulus). This paradigm was presented to rats licking water. Methamphetamine-induced (1.0. mg/kg, i.p.) disruption of LI was significantly improved by the administration of a higher dose (3.0. mg/kg, i.p.) of blonanserin and tended to be improved by 1.0-mg/kg blonanserin and 0.2-mg/kg haloperidol but not by a lower dose (0.3. mg/kg) of blonanserin. Immunohistochemical examination showed blonanserin (3.0. mg/kg, i.p.) increased c-Fos expression in the shell area but not in the core area of the nucleus accumbens while methamphetamine (3.0. mg/kg, i.p.) produced the opposite expression pattern. Blonanserin also increased the number of c-Fos expressions in the central amygdala nucleus but not in the basolateral amygdala nucleus or the prefrontal cortex. Blonanserin ameliorates the methamphetamine-induced disruption of LI, as other antipsychotics do, and a neuronal activation and/or modulation of neurotransmission in the nucleus accumbens is related to the disruption of LI by methamphetamine and to its amelioration by blonanserin.
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