The effects of methamphetamine (MAT) and apomorphine (APO), dopamine agonists, were studied in 16 cats to evaluate their effects on threshold for defensive attack behavior elicited by electrical stimulation of the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH). Directed attack and hissing were selected from elementary responses as constituting a defensive attack. Hissing threshold was measured in two situations, one with human provocation and the other without provocation. MAT administered systemically lowered the thresholds for all three types of responses in a dose-related manner (0.5, 1.0, and 3.0 mg/kg). The effects of 1.0 mg/kg of APO were almost identical to those observed with 0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg of MAT. These results suggest that MAT-induced aggressive behavior may be mediated by a dopamine-induced increase in the excitability of the VMH.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience