Date of Award

Summer 8-2013

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Neuroscience Institute

First Advisor

Walter Wilczynski

Abstract

Dopamine modulates a range of behaviors that include motor processes, learning, and incentive motivation. Neuroanatomical research supports conservation of dopaminergic populations in the midbrain across vertebrate species, however, less evidence is available for dopamine receptor distributions and function. In order to test the behavioral role of dopamine in a conserved dopaminergic system, the effects of D2-type receptor manipulation on motor behaviors were examined in the anuran amphibian green tree frog, Hyla cinerea. In two different experiments, frogs were treated with a D2 receptor-specific drug, quinpirole or haloperidol, and exposed to a testing session to measure changes in motor behaviors. Quinpirole generally inhibited some motor behaviors, while haloperidol generally stimulated some motor behaviors, as predicted based on receptor mechanisms. A pattern of performance improvement also appeared in frogs in each experiment. Overall, the results support general conservation of DA in motor processes in vertebrate species.

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