Postnatal Maturation of Dopamine Actions in the Prefrontal Cortex

Patricio O’Donnell and Kuei Y. Tseng

in Dopamine Handbook

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780195373035
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865543 | DOI:
Postnatal Maturation of Dopamine Actions in the Prefrontal Cortex

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To understand the modulation of prefrontal cortical activity by dopamine (DA), it is critical to consider not only different receptor subtypes and the cell type DA acts upon, but also complex changes that occur postnatally, sometimes as late as during adolescence. A large body of literature deals with DA actions on physiological properties of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), ranging from recordings in cultured neurons and brain slices to anesthetized animals and awake, freely moving animals. All these levels of analysis offer unique perspectives on the complex pattern of DA actions; combined, they have produced a reasonable understanding of how this modulator affects function in this critical brain region. However, many divergent views persist, and a lot of them arise from the use of different techniques on animals at different postnatal developmental stages. For example, cellular physiology studies using the whole-cell technique typically rely on slices from very young animals, in many cases obtained before weaning, while behavioral and anatomical studies are conducted mainly in adult animals. This chapter summarizes recent work bridging those age groups, highlighting the maturation of DA electrophysiological actions in the PFC during adolescence.

Keywords: dopamine; prefrontal cortical activity; adolescence; maturation

Chapter.  6051 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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