Elucidating the Role of Neurotensin in the Pathophysiology and Management of Major Mental Disorders
Neurotensin is a neuropeptide which coexists with mesolimbic dopamine and has exhibited neuroleptic-like activity in the nucleus accumbens. This study examined the effects of neurotensin infused into the nucleus accumbens on prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the rat's acoustic startle reflex, a measure which is relevant to the sensorimotor gating deficits seen in schizophrenia. Neurotensin (5 micrograms) had no effect on the amplitude of the acoustic startle reflex nor on baseline PPI, but it potentiated the disruption of PPI produced by amphetamine and apomorphine. This is the first report of a pro-dopamine action for intra-accumbens neurotensin, and suggests that a complex behavioral pharmacology is associated with this neuropeptide.